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Friday Bird Droppings: Where there’s drama with the Orioles

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Even when the O’s win big, there seems to be some sort of ugliness going on. The flap between Jim Palmer, Chris Davis, and Scott Coolbaugh reached a fever pitch on Thursday.

MLB: Philadelphia Phillies at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The four-game series between the Orioles and White Sox was resolved in a manner most befitting the two worst teams in baseball: with each team losing multiple games. They split the series, 2-2, which for the Orioles was their first non-losing road series since taking three of four at Yankee Stadium from April 5-8. Mark Brown’s recap has the lovely totals of the Orioles’ blowout win in Thursday’s finale.

The big story swirling around the Orioles, though, is the ongoing controversy surrounding Jim Palmer’s stinging criticism of Chris Davis on MASN after Wednesday night’s defeat. Palmer ripped Davis for not making any noticeable adjustments at the plate, and perhaps most damning, implied that Davis didn’t work as hard this offseason with hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh as Davis claimed he did. Palmer said Coolbaugh told him in spring training, “We didn’t work.”

Before Thursday’s game, Davis expressed his frustration with both Palmer and Coolbaugh for questioning his work ethic, while Palmer doubled down on his comments and Coolbaugh basically confirmed he barely saw Davis this winter. Their complete quotes are in the Baltimore Sun article below.

In my mind, nobody comes out of this looking good. Davis comes across as a player who’s not willing to put in the work to overcome his disastrous slump. Coolbaugh implies that Davis hasn’t approached him about extra work, which raises the question of why Coolbaugh doesn’t take the initiative and approach Davis. And Palmer might have put his foot in his mouth by relaying something to the general public that Coolbaugh told him in confidence. What a mess.

Links

What the Orioles’ Davis, Coolbaugh, and Showalter said about Jim Palmer’s criticism (Baltimore Sun)
Here’s what all parties involved in the controversy had to say prior to Thursday’s game, which, in my mind, only muddies the waters even more. Davis says he can’t give an exact number of times he worked with Coolbaugh this winter, but implies he saw him regularly. Coolbaugh says nope, it was three times total. Like I said...what a mess.

Dylan Bundy strikes out 14 in complete game (MLB.com)
While all this was going on, there was an actual baseball game played, and it went quite well for Dylan Bundy and the Orioles. Bundy even made some history.

Heyman | Calls coming for Manny Machado but trade doubts persist
Jon Heyman has the latest on the Machado trade rumors, and one source tells him it's “50-50” on whether Peter Angelos would even approve a Manny trade. I hate everything.

Tampa Bay Rays to again start relief pitchers in series vs. Baltimore Orioles (ESPN)
The Orioles will get a first-hand look at the Rays' new "opener" strategy this weekend, in which they use a reliever to pitch the first inning before bringing in the "real" starter. Will Buck Showalter shuffle his lineup to counteract them?

Orioles’ Buck Showalter on Welington Castillo’s PED suspension: ‘Let’s be frank. It’s unfortunate.’ (Baltimore Sun)
If you didn’t hear the news, former Orioles catcher Welington Castillo was suspended 80 games after testing positive for the stimulant Erythropoietin. Showalter has thoughts.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your birthday with a whopping six former Orioles, the most prominent being former All-Star shortstop Miguel Tejada, who turns 44 today. The Orioles, normally known for picking the scraps of the free agent market, actually signed one of the biggest names available when they inked Tejada to a six-year, $72 million contract in December 2003.

Tejada was an All-Star and top-20 MVP finisher in each of his first three seasons with the Orioles, and he set an O’s single-season record with 150 RBIs in 2004. He was traded to the Astros for five players after the 2007 season. Tejada came back for another stint with the Orioles in 2010 as a third baseman, but was well past his prime at that point and was dumped on the Padres at the end of July. The Orioles signed him one more time in 2012, but he didn’t make it out of the minors and was released after a month.

As for the other five O’s birthdays today, if you can pick any of these guys out of a crowd, kudos to you. They are 2000-02 catcher Fernando Lunar (41), 1997 four-gamer Melvin Rosario (45), 1967 righty Bill Dillman (73), 1958 first baseman Jim Marshall (87), and the late 1976-78 outfielder Andres Mora, who would have been 63 today.

2018 Orioles vs. 1988 Orioles

In their 50th game, the 1988 Orioles clubbed the Mariners in Seattle, 12-5. The Orioles’ starting outfield did major offensive damage. Larry Sheets, Fred Lynn, and Joe Orsulak combined to go 9-for-15, with Sheets and Orsulak each registering four hits while Lynn homered. Cal Ripken and Rene Gonzales also hit roundtrippers as part of the Orioles’ 16-hit attack. That improved the Orioles to 11-39, five games worse than the present-day club.