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Friday Bird Droppings: Where it turns out the Orioles can still win games

The Orioles finally found their way back to the win column. Maybe they will stay there for two days in a row! Today’s stuff: Setting out minor league rotations, when to use the closer, and more.

Hello, friends.

Another day has dawned with the Orioles in fourth place in the American League East. Though the O’s, thanks to a win and a Rays loss, no longer are tied for the worst record in MLB, they do still have an MLB-worst run differential of -17.

The O’s have certainly dug a little hole for themselves early on, but they can only start to peel it back one game at a time, so every win is something to celebrate. It’s particularly worth celebrating when Andrew Cashner turned in a strong outing against a tough Yankees team and when Trey Mancini, bumped up to the leadoff spot, turned in a three hit performance.

Maybe the O’s will keep Mancini up there! He is a bit of an unorthodox choice, but from an on-base percentage standpoint he might well be the guy worth having in the top spot.

Check out Joe Wedra’s recap of the 5-2 win over the Yankees for some lovely totals, and don’t forget to vote in the Most Birdland Player poll, which will remain open until tonight’s O’s game is scheduled to start.

A win is a win, so let’s try not to spend too much time during the day today worrying about Mychal Givens or Darren O’Day allowing too many baserunners, what Kevin Gausman might look like against a Yankees team that repeatedly dumped him in the trash last year, and the fact that even on a good day there are two Rule 5 picks in the bullpen. Another win and they will have won two in a row. It can be done!

The Orioles did lose something yesterday: Alec Asher on a waiver claim to the Dodgers. Asher was designated for assignment in the flurry of moves that set the Opening Day roster with four spring training non-roster invitees making the team. If they need him later, that transaction will be second-guessed.

Around the blogO’sphere

Machado addresses free agency rumors as Orioles visit Yankees: “My future is looking pretty good” (Baltimore Sun)
No one will ever accuse Manny Machado of lacking swagger.

Showalter on Cobb, Trumbo, and more (School of Roch)
There are still several possibilities for when Alex Cobb will pitch his first game as an Oriole, and it seems like they may not make a decision about that until tomorrow. As for Mark Trumbo, he’s going to need a minor league rehab assignment once he’s ready.

Your best reliever sometimes should not close games (Camden Depot)
Jon Shepherd uses Leverage Index to illustrate why the closer shouldn’t solely pitch the ninth inning of games where the home team has a lead.

Have we seen the end of Chris Davis hitting in the leadoff spot? (Baltimore Sun)
In a very real sense, we haven’t even seen the beginning of Chris Davis hitting in the leadoff spot.

A look at the minor league rosters and pitching rotations (Steve Melewski)
The development of Keegan Akin and Hunter Harvey in the Bowie rotation is important, but also worth keeping an eye on is whether any of the Delmarva starting pitchers can build some prospect heat for themselves.

Fans still can’t stream Walgreens or Orioles games. They aren’t happy about it. (Washington Post)
Although I possess an imagination insufficient to the task of believing that anyone would willingly choose to listen to the Carpenter/Santangelo MASN broadcast contingent, the fact remains that these are two of the only seven teams that do not offer in-market streaming. It’s dumb.

Inside Baseball: How MLB Transactions Actually Get Done (Fangraphs)
This has nothing to do with the Orioles in particular but is a really neat process story.

Birthdays and anniversaries

In 1992, Oriole Park at Camden Yards hosted its first regular season game. Rick Sutcliffe notched the complete game shutout as the O’s beat the Indians, 2-0. Hopefully, Gausman can channel some of that tonight.

One lone former Oriole has a birthday today: 1997-98 outfielder Danny Clyburn. He passed away in 2012.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: painter/architect Raphael (1483), singer-songwriter Merle Haggard (1937), baseball Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven (1951), actor Paul Rudd (1969), and actress Candace Cameron Bure (1976).

On this day in history...

In 46 BC, Julius Caesar defeated Scipio and Cato the Younger in the Battle of Thapsus, the last battle to feature large-scale use of war elephants.

In 1453 AD, Ottoman sultan Mehmed II began the siege of Constantinople, which after its fall on May 29, would become Istanbul.

In 1812, the Duke of Wellington’s army stormed the fortress of Badajoz, the decisive battle of his campaign in the Peninsular War against Napoleon’s French.

In 1865, the Union Army, led by General Sheridan, defeated the Confederates in the Battle of Sailor’s Creek, noteworthy for being the last major battle before Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox.

In 1973, the American League began use of the designated hitter.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 6 - or at least, until something happens later when the Orioles play the Yankees, although no one can guarantee that it will be good. Have a safe Friday, and go Orioles!