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Orioles' Chris Davis on September collapse: 'There just wasn't anything there left to give'

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis on Saturday night acknowledged what was clear watching this team as its playoff chances disappeared: a season spent just trying to stay above water took so much energy that there was nothing left to keep the Orioles afloat in September.

Saturday's 9-6 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays meant the 2017 Orioles will not only miss out on the playoffs, but at 74-82 with six games remaining, they're resigned to their first losing record since much of this core and manager Buck Showalter came together in 2011.

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Davis said after the game that while accepting that fate was hard, the degree of difficulty of the baseball required to make it this far at all is a big reason why this is their fate.

The Orioles lost, 9-6, to the Tampa Bay Rays to eliminate their playoff chances and ensure their first losing season since 2011.

"It's definitely tough, but I think that every team deals with it," Davis told The Baltimore Sun. "Obviously, the degree differs, depending on kind of what the season has held for that particular team. But for us, we have a bunch of guys who have been here before, who have been through that battle. I just think this year, we were scraping the bottom of the barrel. We were really digging deep, and there just wasn't anything there left to give. And it was obvious. It was obvious on the field."

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That the Orioles were even alive this long is thanks to what has now been revealed as a false dawn in late August.

After their 22-10 start paced the league, the team's pitching staff collapsed through essentially all of June and July, leaving them as low as seven games below .500 in mid-July. But the trade deadline addition of shortstop Tim Beckham coincided with a record-setting offensive August. They swept three-game series in Boston and at home against the Seattle Mariners to cap a seven-game winning streak in the last week of August to drag their record to 68-65 and put a wild-card playoff spot in reach, but the bottom fell out.

A 10-game road trip that began with a three game sweep at the hands of the streaking Cleveland Indians finished 2-8, and they returned home to lose five of six to the Red Sox and Rays to leave no doubt about their fate entering Sunday's home finale.

Davis believes all the uncertainty they faced and how hard it was to just stay relevant explains much of this month's struggles.

"I think just over the course of the season, those stretches where we felt like we were fighting and clawing just to try to get a win, then end up losing several in a row after winning a few games, it takes a lot out of you," Davis said. "When you get to September, you almost feel like you have new life because you're still in the hunt.

"You have a big road trip, but we weren't firing on all cylinders when we came back home and we lost some key games. I just feel like the last couple weeks, we've been kind of running on fumes, basically just trying to fight and play with emotion."

That proved difficult to do this month. As a team, the Orioles' 67 runs this month are the fewest in the majors. A 5.19 staff ERA this month didn't help matters either.

It was all too much for a team that has defied expectations — thanks to home runs and relief pitching — over the last half-decade to do it again.

Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham left Saturday's game with a right hamstring injury that could end his season.

"It's just extremely disappointing, especially when you really look back over pretty much the entire time that I've been here," Davis said. "Even in 2011, I was traded at the deadline and obviously, we weren't a playoff team, but we played really good baseball the last couple of months of the season and you could just tell it was a different environment.

"But I just feel like when you really look at the entire season, not making the postseason is just extremely frustrating and disappointing. It's a big letdown, then you look a little further and see we're not even going to finish .500, it just makes you scratch your head. I feel like anytime we've really needed to play our best ball and rattle off some wins, we haven't been able to put it together. If we were pitching well, we weren't hitting. If we were hitting, we weren't pitching well. That's just been the theme the entire season."

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