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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where Opening Day is two weeks away

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The Orioles will be playing real baseball in two weeks, and fake baseball on TV today.

Philadelphia Phillies v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are 14 days remaining until the next Orioles game that counts. Opening Day is just two weeks away! It’ll be here before we know it. As of yesterday, we know who will be the starting pitcher for Opening Day. It’s Alex Cobb. Let there be much rejoicing across Birdland. (Yay.)

The Orioles are now 10-8-2 in their Grapefruit League schedule. On Wednesday, they added to their win total with a comeback 6-4 victory over the Blue Jays. The bad news is they needed the comeback because Andrew Cashner gave up three runs in 3.2 innings. The O’s have yet to have a starter finish four innings this spring. Mark Trumbo made his spring debut and went 0-2. Joey Rickard drove in two runs. Tanner Scott walked two batters in one inning of work.

The team still has 13 spring games left to play before they head north to begin the season. That includes this afternoon, when they take on the Twins in a 1:05 contest. MASN will actually be carrying the game, so if your professional life allows it, you’ll be able to tune in and watch the action. Dylan Bundy is the scheduled starter, with Pedro Araujo, Paul Fry, Branden Kline, and Jimmy Yacabonis expected to pitch as well.

We’re close enough to Opening Day where it would be nice if some of these struggling guys start pitching or hitting well. Bundy and Cashner haven’t had great spring results. Neither have a number of the fifth starter candidates, including Yefry Ramirez, who gave up a run in 2.1 innings yesterday. Jonathan Villar, Trey Mancini, Cedric Mullins, and Renato Nunez haven’t hit much yet.

Neither has Chris Davis, who’s in his own category while giving quotes like what he told Orioles reporters after Tuesday’s game, as relayed by MASN’s Steve Melewski:

“Honestly, I feel like I’m seeing the ball well,” Davis said. “My timing is getting better. Most of the time when I am taking pitches that are in the strike zone or around the strike zone, it’s because I’m getting caught in between, but not on the latter side of that. Feel like I’m getting in the hitting position so much earlier than in the past.”

Davis was due to lead off the top of the fifth, but Ryan McKenna hit for him and grounded out versus Aroldis Chapman. Davis felt he was pulled because the last of the fourth went long, as New York scored two runs.

Weird things happen in spring training, so I don’t know, maybe Davis came out of Tuesday’s game because the bottom of the fourth inning went on for too long. But it’s not hard to read that above segment and come away with the impression that Davis may be in denial. Keep in mind that he gave the above answer after missing over a week of games due to his sore hip!

We’re two weeks away from starting to find out what he’s going to look like when every pitcher he faces is MLB caliber and the games start to count. Maybe something will happen that, based on what I might have assumed from last year’s performance, seems miraculous. Or maybe what’s going to happen is exactly what everyone “knows” is going to happen, only some people receive paychecks for jobs that require them to try to pretend otherwise.

Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 51 days ago. The Orioles have not yet announced any plans to retire his jersey number or add his statue to Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere

Cobb relishes Opening Day assignment (School of Roch)
The amusing part of this story to me is that it seems like several of the pitchers, including Alex Cobb himself, had figured out from the pitching charts that Cobb would be the Opening Day starter long before the announcement.

Trumbo has encouraging return to lineup (Orioles.com)
The encouraging part is apparently that he didn’t just strike out so he was able to test his knee out by running to first base. Really.

O’s top prospects reflect on time in big league camp as minor league schedule begins (Baltimore Sun)
Seems like everybody feels good about what they were able to accomplish in big league camp before getting optioned or reassigned.

After walk-off homer, Branden Kline came back strong (Steve Melewski)
Everywhere you look, players are full of praise for the new coaching staff.

Seven hopefully not-terrible spring trade ideas (Fangraphs)
Two of Dan Szymborski’s seven trade ideas touch on Orioles players. I can’t say whether the proposed trades are fair or not, but I can say that either one would bum me out if they ended up happening.

Birthdays and anniversaries

There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2013-14 pitcher Josh Stinson, 2008 reliever Randor Bierd, and 1995 starter Kevin Brown, no relation to this writer.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: baroque painter Giuseppi Crespi (1665), Italian uniter Victor Emmanuel II (1820), physicist Albert Einstein (1879), actor Billy Crystal (1948), Ben & Jerry’s Jerry Greenfeld (1951), Tetris creator Alexey Pajitnov (1956), basketballer Stephen Curry (1988), and gold medal gymnast Simone Biles (1997).

On this day in history...

In 44 BC, two of the soon-to-be assassins of Julius Caesar, Cassius and Casca, were talked out of also assassinating Marc Antony by Brutus. This turned out to be a poor decision for those gentlemen, as Marc Antony whipped up public support and seized power in a speech famously dramatized by William Shakespeare. Antony defeated Cassius, Casca, and Brutus in the ensuing civil war, after which all three plotters committed suicide.

In 1794, Eli Whitney received a patent for his cotton gin.

In 1900, the Gold Standard Act was signed into law by President William McKinley, which ended the previous bimetallism system under which both silver and gold backed currency.

In 1951, during the Korean War, United Nations forces regained control of Seoul for the second time in the war. The North did not recapture the city again.

In 1964, Jack Ruby was found guilty by a Dallas jury in the killing of Lee Harvey Oswald. On appeal, Ruby was granted a new trial, but he died of a pulmonary embolism before the second trial date was set.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 14 - or at least, until something happens later in Florida. Have a safe Thursday.