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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are trying not to get swept again

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The Orioles are back in last place and now trying not to get swept again. Today’s stuff: Buck’s confidence in Givens, Gausman tries out a new delivery, and more.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
The face when you realize the Orioles have to go 84-60 just to get to 89 wins.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

Another day has dawned with the Orioles in last place in the American League East. They are, in fact, tied for last place with the Rays with identical 5-13 records. The Orioles still have the worst run differential in the American League and after their Wednesday loss, they were 10 games back of the division-leading Red Sox.

What’s really remarkable about this team so far is the way that they find such varied ways to lose. They are not content to settle for run-of-the-mill losing. Yesterday’s loss saw the O’s blow a two-run lead by giving up a three-run home run to the RBI-less backup catcher John Hicks, then ultimately getting walked off by Dixon Machado, a player who had one home run in 328 previous MLB plate appearances.

On a cold afternoon game in Detroit, that takes real commitment to that level of being homer-prone. Starter Kevin Gausman had a good final line in the game, but even he got in on the act, giving up a pair of solo home runs. If you missed the game, check out my recap for more of the not-so-lovely totals from a 6-5 loss. The Orioles finally scored five runs and they still lost! Geez.

Through 18 games, the Orioles are on a pace that would leave them with a 45-117 record at season’s end. That is absurd, because of course they are not that bad. Even if you don’t think they’re good, you surely don’t think they’re that bad.

A problem for the Orioles is that, if they are going to need to reach a mark of 89 wins to make the playoffs, they need to play at a .583 winning percentage from this day forward. They might be better than this, but do they have it in them to be THAT good?

Well, if Chris Tillman gets replaced by a non-broken pitcher, Alex Cobb shakes off the rust, the rest of the rotation keeps pitching well when the offense finally wakes up, and the bullpen stops blowing games, maybe.

The Orioles will try to avoid getting their butts swept by the Tigers with another 1:10 game this afternoon.

Around the blogO’sphere

How far will the Orioles turn back the clock? (School of Roch)
I submit that it is not a good sign when an Orioles beat writer is openly musing about the 1988 Orioles in connection with the current incarnation of the team.

Kevin Gausman changes delivery on the fly, posts another quality start in Orioles loss to Tigers (Baltimore Sun)
Gausman decided to start suddenly throwing from a full windup. It worked on Wednesday even if the O’s lost. Maybe he can start pitching well before July for once?

Postgame quotes from Showalter, O’Day, and more after loss to Tigers (Steve Melewski)
In which Chris Davis tries to find something encouraging in the fact that the Orioles are losing some one-run games while the offense is not yet firing on all cylinders.

Cal Ripken Jr. honored with Smithsonian medal (Orioles.com)
The Smithsonian Museum of American History has weighed in, so now it’s official: Cal Ripken is a Great American.

The Orioles have been bad in many areas (Camden Depot)
There are a whole lot of statistical categories where the Orioles are the worst or near the worst. You don’t want to be trailing in this stuff. It’s not news that the O’s are struggling, but it’s still striking to see just how bad it is.

Showalter still has “a lot of confidence” in Givens despite slow start (Baltimore Sun)
It’s fine to say this after three weeks. Hopefully, in another three weeks, Mychal Givens is no longer struggling and Buck does not have to keep getting questions asked about it.

Birthdays and anniversaries

There are three former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: “Flat Breezy” George Sherrill, 1998-99 reserve Willis Otanez, and 1997-99 pitcher Scott Kamieniecki.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: Nobel Prize-winning chemist Glenn T. Seaborg (1912), mail fraud convict and Maryland governor Marvin Mandel (1920), actor Tim Curry (1946), Death Row Records co-founder Suge Knight (1965), actress Ashley Judd (1968), actor James Franco (1978), and tennis star Maria Sharapova (1987).

Mandel is also noteworthy for briefly getting kicked out of the governor’s mansion by his wife in 1974. The couple separated, divorced, and Mandel remarried - all in that same year.

On this day in history...

In 1775, the American Revolutionary War began with an American victory during the battles of Lexington and Concord. Seven years later, the Dutch Republic recognized the new country and a house he owned in The Hague became the first American embassy.

In 1861, there was a riot in Baltimore when a pro-secession mob attacked United States Army troops who were marching through the city.

In 1956, Monaco’s Prince Rainier married actress Grace Kelly.

In 1993, the Branch Davidian building in Waco caught fire, ending a 51-day siege of the compound. There were 76 people killed in the fire, 18 of whom were children under age 18. Two years later, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was bombed in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people, 19 of whom were children younger than 6.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 19 - or at least, unless something happens later when the Orioles play the Tigers, although no one can promise it will be good. Have a safe Thursday, and go Orioles!