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The Baltimore Sun

O's fans reaching for the panic button

Orioles Village is in a state of despair. Panic is in the air. The talk shows are filled with angry calls to bench this player, move that player down in the batting order, take this player out behind Camden Yards and beat him with sticks.

 Looking at the Orioles lineup, it's tempting to say never have so many looked so lost at the plate. Except we've seen this act before -- many, many times over the past 13 seasons.

First baseman Derrek Lee is hitting just .233 with four homers and nine RBI. Right fielder Nick Markakis is batting .227. Third baseman Mark Reynolds is batting .187.

Pitchers are struggling, too. On the mound, right-hander Brad Bergesen is 0-4 with a 5.57 ERA, and the Orioles have lost nine straight games in which he started. Starter Chris Tillman is 1-3 with a 7.16 ERA. The bullpen is up one day, down the next.

And now we're starting to see some bad body language from the O's during games and comments from the post-game clubhouse that reflect how puzzled and irritated the players are that this team is not playing better.

And yet . . . it could be much worse for the Orioles in the standings. Sure, they're in last place in the AL East and 5 1/2 games out. But no one's tearing up the division yet. If the Orioles start hitting and get a couple of their pitchers straightened out, they'd be competitive -- and entertaining -- again, which is basically all their fans were hoping to see this season.

The Buck-Showalter-as-savior vibe sure died down in a hurry. But to his credit, the Orioles manager continues to exude confidence -- at least outwardly -- that his team will start turning things around any day now.

Nevertheless, my colleague Jeff Zrebiec speculates in the Orioles Insider blog -- you can read it here -- that Showalter, with the team having a day off today, may be on the verge of shaking up the lineup and possibly making a couple of roster moves, too.

That could only be a good thing at this point. Something has to be done to shake this team out of its doldrums.

And those moves can't come soon enough for Orioles Village, which has seen this act for too many springs now and is sick and tired of it.

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