Sunday's reprieve from the Orioles' gloomy reality was extended by a scheduled day off Monday, one they were quite happy to enter without the specter of a 10-game losing streak over them.
That's all little consolation to a team that's 20-50 and on pace for one of the worst seasons in major league history, with a light stretch in its schedule possibly giving the players a chance to take a wide view of just how the daily accumulation of losses looks from afar.
It doesn’t get any easier with a three-game series in Washington against the Nationals beginning Tuesday night, followed by a trip to Atlanta. The Braves are leading the Nationals in the National League East. Then it’s back home next Monday against the Seattle Mariners, who have been one of the hottest teams in baseball.
“It's obviously far from ideal," designated hitter Mark Trumbo said. "You try and keep as much perspective as you can. The losses are obviously far more than what we could have expected. But at the same time, we have to own up to it and realize that this is where we are."
Pitcher Kevin Gausman said in baseball there are few opportunities to take a step back and examine things.
"I think that's the difference between football and baseball and basketball. We play every day, so the turnaround is quick,” Gausman said. “You've got to be ready to go the next day. You don't really have the time to sit there and try to wait and figure it out.
"And that's what makes the big leagues so tough on pitchers and hitters, that you have to be able to adjust day by day, at-bat by at-bat, pitch by pitch. I think everybody here is frustrated. We all want to turn it around and we just need more fight."
Losing on a regular basis gives any team a reminder of that, and manager Buck Showalter said the Orioles are no different. Even if they aren't combing through the 70-game paces of the teams that finished with the worst records ever — parallels that the Orioles are right on track with — they know what it looks like from the outside.
"It's not like whistling in the graveyard," Showalter said. "You're not oblivious to it. You never get comfortable with it. Believe me, there's some real, not-privy-to-the-public-eye frustrations. You're trying to be consistent and treat people the way you'd like to be treated, but you're also trying to convey that this isn't acceptable. You never want to get accepting of this. That's abundantly clear, and has been made clear — as much by them as by us as a coaching staff."
The progress that this weekend offered began with a pair of good starts from Gausman and Dylan Bundy. Plus, on the hitting side, there seemed to be a renewed focus on putting the ball in play and being more selective from some of the team's slumping stars. That was what the team has longed for all year, but everything can’t be fixed without simply starting to fix something.
"It doesn't look like this year that we're probably going to factor into any postseason play, but there's a lot of guys here, especially some of the younger guys, that are fighting to establish themselves and fighting to be a big part of things in the future," Trumbo said. "I think that you want to see improvement in all areas of the game. That doesn't necessarily mean we're going to transform into an amazing team overnight, but I think it's important to try and analyze where the weaknesses are and what can be done to try and start moving things in the other direction."
But the struggles are real, and Trumbo said nobody wants to be embarrassed and that everyone on the team wants to “show the best versions of themselves.”
"You have a couple choices," he said. "You can come with a defeated attitude, and go out there and play the game and hope for the best. That's just never the right way. This game doesn't reward any kind of feeling-sorry-for-yourself attitude, or playing timid. It's just not the way it works. You've got to go out there with a chip on your shoulder, you've got to play hard.