The Baltimore Orioles have just about run out of time.
Though not mathematically eliminated from MLB postseason contention, the O’s have fallen to 4.5 games behind in the American League Wild Card race. The Orioles are 4-6 in their last 10 games and have lost four-straight.
With just seven games remaining in their 2013 regular season, the Orioles would need a lot of that Orioles Magic to extend their season into October.
Last season, the O’s defied many odds using what some might call “Orioles Magic” and what others considered “Buck Ball”, praising manager Buck Showalter for his turn-everything-into-gold touch.
The O’s were a remarkable 29-9 in one-run games in 2012. However, that close-game magic ran out this year — the Orioles have won the fewest one-run games — posting a 17-29 record.
Another issue for the 2013 Orioles was their inability to win games down the stretch against teams ahead of them in the Wild Card chase.
Since Aug. 27 the Orioles are 11-14, eight of those losses have been against the Cleveland Indians (who are now tied for an AL Wild Card spot), the Tampa Bay Rays (who are the other AL Wild Card team), and the New York Yankees (four games back).
The Orioles have one game remaining in their four-game series in Tampa Bay (a 3:10 p.m. EST start on Monday). Their remaining six games will come against the Toronto Blue Jays and the Boston Red Sox, and both series are at Camden Yards in Baltimore.
Unless the Orioles still have some magic stored in reserve and the rest of baseball’s dominoes fall in favor of the Birds — the Orioles are dead in the water.
If there is a bright side to this season it’s that the Orioles will once again be at least a .500 baseball team. Before last season, the Orioles last winning season came in 1997 — so back-to-back .500 or better seasons could be called progress.
But after the Orioles brought playoff baseball back to Charm City last season, this year’s late-season collapse will certainly feel like a failure to many O’s fans.