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Baltimore Sun

Various thoughts (Prediction Friday; Insider without Z; Orioles pushing for history)

Some thoughts on this windy Friday:

The Orioles had their first off day in 27 days Thursday. I hope they enjoyed it. They'll now play 14 straight games in 13 days. And they're not of the easy variety: three against the Los Angeles Angels, seven against the Boston Red Sox and four against the Detroit Tigers.

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The good news is that all they need to do is win three of their final 14 and they've avoided 100 losses again. Terrible consolation prize, I know, but worth noting.

I've been saying all year that 100 losses is extremely difficult to do and that this team wasn't bad enough to pull it off (I've seen worse Orioles' clubs in the past 10 years, and they avoided 100). Jeff Zrebiec was adamant that this team would lose 100. Now that it looks like he's wrong, we had to push him onto a less complex sport, like football.

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Seriously, I know many of you are disappointed to see Z switch Insiders and head to the Ravens. Jeff and I worked together for six years covering baseball and the Orioles, and I like to think we were a pretty good team. I'll be wearing a black armband with a bald head stitched on it for the remainder of the season.

I also will try to do my best to keep you updated with all things Orioles. Obviously, we'll be down a man for a while, but hopefully you won't notice it too often. I'll continue to throw news and observations at you and keep Connolly's Bar open.

Now, to Connolly's Bar, here's a question for many of you: Should we keep Ravens' Prediction Friday going in this space this season? I skipped it last week – since we had enough complaints last year that people didn't want Ravens in their Orioles Insider or chocolate in their peanut butter – and then I got crushed by several people this week for not doing it.

It's up to you. If you want Prediction Friday with the Ravens to return – we pick the outcome and player of the game in the bar each week and revisit the predictions on the following Monday – we can do that. This would be the fourth year of that tradition.

But if you want just Orioles' stuff, I am OK with that, too. Let your voices be heard (and predict this Sunday's game if you like. For the record, I am saying the Ravens win, 24-10, against the Titans. And Ray Rice continues what will be his season-long assault on opposing defenses).

OK, back to the Orioles. The Pittsburgh Pirates lost their 82nd game Wednesday, which allowed them to pad their record of 19 straight seasons without getting over .500. The Orioles have 14 consecutive, that's good enough – or bad enough – for fourth all time, according to my friend, the fine Pirates writer and Baseball Prospectus guru John Perrotto.

Here's John's list of biggest losers in modern baseball history.

19 seasons --- Pirates 1993-2011

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16 --- Phillies 1933-48

15 --- Athletics (Phi/KC) 1953-67

14 --- Orioles 1998-2011

12 --- Brewers 1993-2004

12 --- Tigers 1994-2005


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