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As they stagger toward the midpoint of their miserable 2018 baseball season Womens Joe Flacco Jersey , the Orioles own the worst record in the majors and are on pace to lose 100 games for only the third time since their move to Baltimore in 1954.

Worst of all, they never saw it coming.

After giving free agent Alex Cobb a four-year, $57 million contract and signing veteran right-hander Andrew Cashner, the Orioles figured they had a solid starting rotation to go with a power-laden lineup – a formula designed to produce the team’s fourth postseason berth in seven years under manager Buck Showalter.

”We had really high hopes, as most teams do, especially in spring training,” slugger Mark Trumbo said. ”Our offense was really firing, and we had both Cashner and Cobb coming into the fold to go with a similar group of guys from the last couple years.”

Nothing has gone according to plan. Entering Friday night’s game in Atlanta, the Orioles were 21-52 (10-29 on the road) and a whopping 29 games behind the first-place New York Yankees in the AL East. The last time a team has been at least 30 games behind at the end of June was 1979, when Toronto was looking way up at the Orioles.

”It’s kind of mind-boggling,” reliever Zach Britton said. ”It’s tough. We thought we’d be fighting for a playoff spot, and we’re not even halfway through and we’re already close to being mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

”I can’t remember being in this type of situation here, maybe my first year in 2011 when we were pretty bad from the get-go. But I don’t even think it was this bad, and this roster has a lot of talent on it.”

Injuries have been a factor. Trumbo and Britton began the season on the disabled list, third baseman Tim Beckham has been sidelined since April 24 and 2017 All-Star second baseman Jonathan Schoop missed three weeks with an oblique strain. Outfielder Colby Rasmus languished on the 60-day disabled list before hitting a home run Thursday in his first action since April 6.

But the core of the problem has been, quite simply, poor performances by the vast majority of the team – most notably two-time AL home run champion Chris Davis, who’s in the third season of a seven-year, $161 million contract.

Davis is batting .150 with four homers and 15 RBIs in 57 games. He is slated to return to the lineup on Friday night following a hiatus of nearly two weeks during which he worked to get his mojo back.

But Davis isn’t the only underachiever. Schoop has a .209 batting average, starting catcher Caleb Joseph is at .172, Trey Mancini is hitting at a .220 clip (down from .293 as a rookie last year) and the collective batting average of .227 is tied for last in the big leagues with Arizona. Baltimore has been blanked eight times, and no team in the majors has scored fewer runs.

”I can’t remember having a team with so many guys who haven’t swung the bats as they have in the past, or the way they are expected to produce over the course of a full season,” Showalter said.

The best hitters on the team are Manny Machado (.304 Youth C.J. Mosley Jersey , 18 HRs, 53 RBIs) and Adam Jones (.292, 10, 31), both of whom are in the final year of their contracts and likely to be dealt before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

It would take exceptional pitching to offset Baltimore’s meager offensive output, and that hasn’t happened. Cobb is 2-9 with a 7.14 ERA, Cashner is 2-8 and Gausman (3-6) has gone seven straight starts without a victory.

”I’ve never been a part of a team like this,” Gausman said. ”Ever since I came up (in 2013), we’ve been a winning ball club and a contender. So, this is really weird.”

Seems as if there’s no option but to tear it down and start over, beginning with some heavy trading action before July 31.

”If you just run the same roster out there the whole year, you don’t do yourself any justice,” said the 30-year-old Britton, who’s in the final season of his contract and a likely trading chip. ”It’s unfortunate for some of the guys who are going to be affected by it, but it’s the nature of the beast. When you don’t play well, people get replaced by younger players.”

Showalter and vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette are also in the last year of their contracts, but situation likely won’t be addressed until the offseason.

Regardless, change is coming for a franchise still in search of its first World Series title since 1983.

”Sad to see it happen,” Gausman said. ”Obviously, I would love for us all to stay here and ride off into the sunset together. But at this point, that’s kind of unrealistic.”



A little rest did Kris Bryant a lot of good.

Bryant ended a 24-game homerless drought, the longest of his career, and Ian Happ and Kyle Schwarber also went deep as the Chicago Cubs routed the St. Louis Cardinals 13-5 on Friday night.

”I know that there’s probably going to be plenty more times in my career when that happens and it’s all part of the journey,” Bryant said about his power outage. ”As much as we hate it as players Womens C.J. Mosley Jersey , everybody goes through it at some point in their careers. It’s nothing new to me, so on the surface everything has been peachy and pretty easy for me, but it never felt easy.”

Bryant drilled a 448-foot, two-run shot to left field off an ineffective Michael Wacha in the third inning for his first home run since May 14. The 2016 NL MVP capped a six-run fifth with an RBI single and drove in another run with a sacrifice fly in the seventh. His four RBIs were a season high.

Bryant had been hitless in his four previous games. Cubs manager Joe Maddon sat the All-Star slugger on Wednesday and Thursday.

”It looked like the ball was coming (off his bat) hotter,” Maddon said. ”I thought KB looked good. He looked good. I loved the base hit, I loved the sacrifice fly.”

Jon Lester ran his scoreless streak to 17 innings before giving up a solo home run to Marcell Ozuna in the fourth as the Cubs won for the first time in four tries at Busch Stadium this season. Lester (8-2) allowed two runs in six innings to earn his fourth straight win.

”That might be the best stuff he’s had all year from my angle,” Maddon said. ”That velocity was there. He just continues to trend in the right direction.”

Lester helped himself at the plate, too, driving in a run on a bunt in the fourth and reaching on catcher Yadier Molina’s throwing error that led to a second run as the Cubs extended their lead to 5-0.

Anthony Rizzo had three hits, was hit by a pitch and scored a run. Schwarber launched a three-run homer that traveled a projected 465 feet to straightaway center in the fifth, the third-longest homer by an opposing player in Busch Stadium III history.

Happ led off the third with a home run to right field. His first homer since May 22 snapped a 20-inning scoreless streak for the Cubs.

”We hit homers but we also did the little things well, too,” Maddon said. ”We ran the bases well.”

Wacha (8-2) allowed a career-high nine runs, eight earned, in a season-low four-plus innings. The three home runs he gave up tied a career high.

”I was just falling behind in the counts,” Wacha said. ”A lot of 1-0, 2-0s and just too many mistakes and they didn’t miss too many of them.”

Matt Carpenter homered in the sixth and drove in two runs, but the Cardinals lost their third consecutive game.

”Bottom line, we lost and it wasn’t pretty,” manager Mike Matheny said. ”And it’s a matter of trying to conserve arms, trying to get a couple guys off their feet and figure out a way to have some individual things that are done well and build on and have some confidence that will put us in a better spot tomorrow.”

TRAINER’S ROOM

Cubs: RHP Yu Darvish (right triceps tendinitis) threw a 35-pitch bullpen. He is scheduled to throw another one when the team returns home next week.

Cardinals: 1B Luke Voit was recalled from Double-A Springfield and RHP Matt Bowman (right hand finger blisters) was activated from the 10-day disabled list. 1B Jose Martinez was placed on the paternity list and RHP Daniel Poncedeleon was optioned to Triple-A Memphis.

UP NEXT

Cubs RHP Kyle Hendricks (4-6, 3.48 ERA) starts Saturday night against RHP Carlos Martinez (3-2, 2.96). Hendricks has dropped three straight decisions for the first time in his career. Martinez has walked 12 over 7 2/3 innings in two starts since returning from a lat strain.

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