(The Braves’ Andruw Jones, shown hitting the game winner in the bottom of the 9th earlier today against Baltimore’s Todd Williams)

After losing this afternoon to Atlanta, the Orioles have fallen urther behind the Red Soxf in the AL East and ESPN’s Buster Olney wonders why the O’s have been hesitant to make a move.

Baltimore did make a trade for role player Eli Marrero. But to date, the Orioles have made no major acquisitions at a time when they have every reason to be aggressive. They could win back credibility with a fan base that has grown frustrated over the last seven seasons and sway fans who might be lured by the immediate success of the Washington Nationals. And they also are protected financially because of their sweetheart deal with Major League Baseball over the placement of the Nationals, so they are in a position to take risks.

On Friday night, the Orioles lost to Atlanta 7-5. Their record is 12-15 since May 26. The Red Sox moved into first place because they have regained some urgency and started playing much better, just as you knew they would; they have won 17 of their last 26 games. Schilling figures to rejoin the Boston rotation within two weeks. The Yankees, however, haven’t put together a serious run, having gone 11-15 since May 26.

I find it astonishing that the Orioles haven’t been aggressive in making deals, in trying to augment their team. It’s been about seven years since they’ve had a window of opportunity to make the playoffs, and now it’s here, it’s right in front of them. Carpe diem.

Last year, the Mets’ trades for Victor Zambrano and Kris Benson were bad deals because they were the type of moves made by a team ready to contend, and the Mets were decidedly not ready to contend: They were six games out of first place and three games under .500. This is the Orioles’ time. If you have to splurge to get a very good player, you do it; if you have to overpay to get help, in money or in prospects, you do it. The Yankees want Mark Kotsay, and with their season disintegrating, they will probably go all-out to get the center fielder. The Orioles could have even more motivation than the Yankees to be aggressive, to mix it up and trade elbows on the trade market, to make it happen. Right now.