On July 21 last year, the Nationals were 27-66 and 27 games back in the division. They had been outscored by 123 runs and were being talked about as one of the worst teams of the past 50 years.

Washington avoided becoming a historic failure by finishing the season with a 32-37 record.

Meet the 2010 Orioles: Entering Tuesday night's game, Baltimore was 29-63. They were 29.5 games back in the AL East and had been outscored by 161 runs.

Baltimore is in baseball's toughest division and will play 17 games against the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in September when the three clubs -- all destined for 90-win seasons -- will be fighting for their playoff lives.

The Orioles are on pace to lose 111 games this season. That's not 1962 Mets bad, but it would be the worst record in baseball since 2004 and set a team record for most losses.

Just a few years ago, Baltimore changed focus from free agency to its farm system. And with a roster filled with promising young stars, it seemed like success in the AL East was right around the corner.

Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold were supposed to be the best young outfield in the majors. But Markakis, 26, can't find his power (six home runs); Jones, 24, has his lowest on-base percentage (.303) in three seasons in Baltimore; and Reimold, 26, was sent back down to Triple-A Norfolk.

Catcher Matt Wieters, drafted fifth overall in 2007, was supposed to be the next Joe Mauer. The 24-year-old is batting .245 and is currently on the DL with a hamstring injury.

And the Orioles were supposed to have some of the best young arms in the game. Brian Matusz, 23, is 3-10 with a 5.21 ERA; Chris Tillman, 22, is 1-4 with a 7.92 ERA; and Jake Arrieta, 24, is 3-2 with a 4.67 ERA.

This group of mid-20-year-olds has plenty of time to turn things around, but they are certainly not progressing like Baltimore anticipated.

Has the future of the Orioles ever looked so bleak?