Houston, we have a problem
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.