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Orioles in another mid-summer free-fall

What a mess the Orioles are right now.

They finished the month of July with just seven wins and 20 losses. They finished with another bloody drubbing in their personal hellhole, the Bronx, losing three of four to the New York Yankees. And that included a horrendous 17-3 beatdown in the second game of Saturday's doubleheader, a game the O's seemed out of about a half-hour after their bus pulled up to Yankee Stadium.

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There seems to be no relief in sight for Orioles fans, either.

The starting pitching is in shambles. The bullpen looked like a MASH unit Sunday with both Michael Gonzalez and Mark Hendrickson unavailable because of various injuries sustained when -- you gota love this -- they were hit by line drives rocketing off the bats of the Yankees the night before.

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And the roster keeps changing every five minutes. Is Pedro Viola up or down this week? And what about Mike Ballard? Jason Berken was shuffled off to Triple A Norfolk again. The way he got tattooed the other night in that 17-run fiasco with the Yankees, we might never see him again.

If it wasn't so sad, it would be like a sitcom, watching this team day in and day out.

I have no problem with the Orioles dealing reliever Koji Uehara to the Texas Rangers, no matter how effective he was this year or how popular he was in the clubhouse. Same thing with the team jettisoning Derrek Lee, another disappointment this season.

In fact, I have no problem with the Orioles dealing ANY of their players, save for a precious few (Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis.) This is a team with such huge problems, there can be no sacred cows on the roster.

What I can't understand is that righty starter Jeremy Guthrie is still on this team. I like Guthrie a lot, but what's the point of hanging on to this guy?

I know president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said he was underwhelmed by the offers for Guthrie. But this is clearly a pitcher who needs to move on, for both his sake and the team's sake.

Watching Guthrie struggle this season and get tagged with loss after loss is painful. The guy's body language on the mound looks worse and worse. His shell-shocked demeanor and self-lacerating introspection in post-game interviews is awful to watch.

The Orioles have done themselves -- and Guthrie -- no favors by keeping him here.

Now the only thing keeping Orioles fans going is the faint hope that the O's can finish strong as they did last season, when manager Buck Showalter first took over the club.

I wouldn't count on it. Not with a starting rotation in such shambles. Not with a 14th straight losing season wearing on even the most gung-ho players in the Orioles clubhouse.

It looks like another long, hot summer for Orioles fans. At least the Ravens have started training camp. It couldn't have come at a better time.

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