A 5 1/2-game deficit in the American League East with 36 games left to play, obviously, is not insurmountable and -- as just about everyone has pointed out recently -- the Orioles' record and divisional deficit are about the same as they were last year at this time. That's the good news, I guess, but the situation is not really the same. The Orioles were one game better (69-57) after 116 games last year, and they were a half-game closer to first place, but the top four AL wild-card contenders at the time -- the Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Detroit Tigers and Oakland Athletics -- were all within 1 1/2 games of each other. This year, the Orioles are 4 1/2 games behind the Rays and three games behind the Athletics, and they're also bunched with the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees. It's a very different dynamic, but they can alter it by getting after the Athletics and the Boston Red Sox in their next two series.
Lloyd Fox, Baltimore Sun