Set to start the second half of the baseball season tonight, the Orioles are where most prognosticators expected them to be - in fourth place in the American League East, far removed from the playoff picture and on pace for a ninth straight losing season.
The wishful thinking that enveloped the Orioles - and almost every other team - in the spring is long gone, leaving the club with continued mediocrity, a lack of depth, inconsistent pitching and a flawed roster that could look substantially different by the end of this month.
"Our feeling was that after the first half of last year, if we made a couple of key trades and some key free-agent signings and we did, we'd be a little closer than we are," said Orioles vice president Jim Duquette. "We think that we improved ourselves, but obviously, a lot of other teams did, too. The record speaks for itself. We are eight games under .500 and you never want to be there. That's the disappointing thing."