Despite a strong finish to last season and 6-1 start to this year’s campaign, Buck Showalter’s Orioles find themselves with an AL-worst 42-63 record.  Thru 162 games in charge of Baltimore Showalter is sporting a 76-86 mark, leaving him — as the Sun’s Dan Conolly is quick to remind us —  with a lower winning percentage than Lee Mazzilli.  Several months removed from implying the Red Sox have far too cushy a competitive advantage, Showalter tells Conolly, “You’re never as good as it looks nor as [bad] as it might look. I’m trying to define reality.”

The daily grind of a baseball season, including the constant travel and its pressure-cooker nature for someone so intense and committed, could be taking its toll on Showalter, 55. His trusted sidekick, Mark Connor, resigned as Orioles pitching coach in June because he felt he no longer could give his all to the position

Ultimately, Showalter said, the job is what he thought it would be when he was introduced last August. It’s a challenge, and one that has no specific timetable — just an end goal.

“I don’t think you can say, ‘at this date’ and ‘at this date.’ You’ve got to look at it the way fans look at it, and so do I at the end of the day. I don’t want to make one excuse, and there’s one around every corner,” Showalter said.

“We want to put something together to stand the test of time. Just about every great situation — New York, Tampa, Atlanta, Arizona — there were times where it looked pretty tough and some things started clicking.”