Hous­ton, we have a prob­lem

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - SPORTS -

It was only a week ago that Ori­oles ex­ec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent/gen­eral man­ager Mike Elias was asked dur­ing an im­promptu press gath­er­ing whether he thought his re­build­ing pro­ject was ahead of sched­ule.

It seemed like a fair ques­tion at the time be­cause the Ori­oles were near the end of a span of 28 games dur­ing which they played .500 base­ball and ap­peared to be fig­ur­ing some things out.

Elias didn’t hes­i­tate to dis­miss that no­tion, be­cause he doesn’t need a bunch of fancy an­a­lyt­ics to know he doesn’t have enough pitch­ing tal­ent or depth to com­pete in the Amer­i­can League East — or any other di­vi­sion, for that mat­ter.

What was clear to Elias then should be crys­tal clear by now. Five games into a com­pet­i­tive lit­mus test that will ul­ti­mately in­clude 13 games against the New York Yan­kees, Hous­ton Astros and Bos­ton Red Sox, the Ori­oles are 0-5. They hit rock bot­tom Sat­ur­day night when the Astros scored a 2019 ma­jor league-high 23 runs.

Keep­ing score at home: The Yan­kees and Astros have scored a to­tal of 58 runs in those five games and hit 22 homers.

If that wasn’t hum­bling enough, Car­los Cor­rea pro­vided an ex­cla­ma­tion point in the third in­ning by hit­ting a shot to left-center field that cleared both bullpens and the crowd at the rail­ing above them. It trav­eled 474 feet and is thought to be the long­est homer ever hit at Ori­ole Park.

So, what’s a man­ager and gen­eral man­ager to do, other than maybe sched­ule a “Bleacher Hel­met Night” pro­mo­tion?

Noth­ing. The Ori­oles are go­ing to set the all-time record for giv­ing up home runs in a sea­son. They’ve al­ready scrib­bled their name all over the record book, set­ting ma­jor league records for both hit­ting (10) and giv­ing up (12) mul­ti­ple home runs in con­sec­u­tive games.

The Ori­oles have be­come the poster chil­dren for MLB’s “juiced ball” con­tro­versy, which is no longer just a con­spir­acy the­ory.

They’ll just have to live with that for the next seven weeks.

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