Orioles' D hurting young pitchers

Zach Britton has been undone by some porous defense behind him. Greg Fiume/Getty Images

If their current pace holds, the Baltimore Orioles will come dangerously close to losing 100 games, an ignominy they have somehow avoided since 1988 despite their 14 consecutive losing seasons.

It was not supposed to be this way.

Last season's abrupt turnaround from a 32-73 record under Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel to 34-23 under Buck Showalter seemed to indicate a newfound competence, one that was supposed to be further improved this year by a young starting staff that would be a year older, a year better, and augmented by top pitching prospect Zach Britton, Baseball Prospectus' No. 17 prospect coming into the season.

The season-opening rotation of Jeremy Guthrie, Chris Tillman, Britton, Jake Arrieta, and Brad Bergesen -- with an injured Brian Matusz waiting in the wings -- was supposed to give the Orioles a cadre of electric hurlers who would grow into dominance and haul the team back to competitiveness in spite of the team's lack of promising young position players.