Now, you're probably bracing for me to come up with some pollyanna explanation for where the Orioles are right now, and you will be waiting a long time for that. The O's are in crisis. There is no doubt about that, and the proof is in this 2-11 run that has taken all the joy and optimism out of the fan base.

There really is no sugar-coating that. If they don't figure out a way to win a few games in a hurry they'll be on the doorstep of replicating last year's devastating 2-16 run, which would be, well, devastating, though not as devastating as that one.

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Which brings us to my original point. The Orioles are actually lucky right now that they are not already completely out of the picture in the AL East. By this time last year, they were so far down they couldn't see up, but all the other teams in the East except the Yankees sputtered out of the gate. Somehow, the Orioles are only two games out of second place after this crappy run. Last year, they were 11 games out of first place at this point in the season and 9 1/2 out of second.

I'm sure there are those who would say that last place is last place. I know a lot of people on this blog think that way, and that's fine. It is what it is and no one should be happy about it. I still believe that this is a far better team than last year's, but at some point it's up to them to prove it -- and that isn't happening right now.

This upcoming series against the Red Sox has become very important from a credibility standpoint. If the O's keep can't close out this homestand with at least a couple of wins, it's going to be hard to make the case that they've made up any ground on the rest of the division.

Injuries? Don't want to hear it. I proclaimed the Tampa Bay Rays DOA after Evan Longoria went down and Manny Ramirez retired. They lost Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena to free agency and traded away Matt Garza for budget reasons. They fell on their faces at the start of the season, but they have streaked back to .500 and into second place. That's a sign of the character of the team and the quality of the pitching staff.

The Orioles need to take a page from that playbook and dig deep right now or this season is going to come unraveled before they can get Brian Matusz and J.J. Hardy back from the disabled list.

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