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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the O’s Opening Day win streak is over

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The Orioles had won eight consecutive season openers entering yesterday. That run ended with a thud, kicking off what’s expected to be an ugly 2019 campaign.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Happy day after Opening Day, everyone. The 2019 season has begun, and the O’s are already in the loss column with a dismal 7-2 defeat to the Yankees in yesterday’s season opener. If you weren’t able to catch the action, Mark Brown recapped everything you need to know about game No. 1 of 162.

If it feels like it’s been a while since the Orioles started a season 0-1, well, it has. Before yesterday, the Orioles had won on Opening Day eight straight years — all eight openers managed by former skipper Buck Showalter — which was the longest active streak in the majors. The Birds’ last Opening Day loss was April 6, 2010 under Dave Trembley. In that game, the O’s held a 3-2 lead going to the bottom of the ninth against the Rays, only for new closer Mike Gonzalez to cough up two runs and lose a walkoff.

So, what are your thoughts after watching the 2019 Orioles take the field for the first time in the regular season? Was it exactly as you expected? Did anything surprise you? To me, the game was a microcosm of what we’re almost certainly going to see from the club all year: a relatively punchless lineup (the O’s had eight hits, seven of them singles) and major problems with starting pitching (Andrew Cashner couldn’t get an out past the fourth inning).

The defense, at least, looked a bit sharper than last year, with surehanded shortstop Richie Martin starting a couple of double plays and Dwight Smith Jr. hauling in fly balls in left that Trey Mancini would still be chasing today. Even the glovework had a few blips, though. Martin and Jonathan Villar collided with each other while trying to field a grounder up the middle, and catcher Jesus Sucre dropped a pop-up that the O’s somehow turned into a double play thanks to Yankee baserunning buffoonery.

All in all, it was a lackluster loss in a season that’s likely to be full of them. This is the new normal for now, and maybe for the next couple of years. It’s a necessary part of the rebuilding process.

(heavy sigh) Better get used to it.

Links

Orioles lose Brandon Hyde’s debut | Baltimore Orioles
Joe Trezza wraps up the Orioles’ Opening Day defeat, a nonetheless special day for rookie manager Brandon Hyde.

A tale of Opening Day optimism, of baseball reality and the always-present Chris Davis subplot – The Athletic
Oh by the way, Chris Davis struck out in all three of his at-bats yesterday, so...that’s still a thing that’s happening.

As new era begins, Orioles aim to provide fans with a team they can watch grow - Baltimore Sun
Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde are making no promises about how many games the 2019 Orioles win, but they do foresee a more aggressive, more defensively sound club. I think that’s a fair assessment.

Jackson, Martin and Means on first opening day experiences - School of Roch
A lot of the Orioles’ rookies seem awestruck by Yankee Stadium. Just wait until they get to Camden Yards and get to see what a good ballpark looks like.

Development matters: How six O’s prospects can get back to Baltimore – The Athletic
Just as I hope those prospects can get back to Baltimore, I hope Matt Kremnitzer can get back to blogging soon. This was his final post for the Athletic.

2019 AL East positional rankings (Part 1: Infield; Part 2: Outfield; Part 3: Pitching) - Baltimore Baseball

Just how bleak do things look for the Orioles in the AL East “race”? I compared the Birds to the other division teams at every position and, folks, the results aren’t pretty. But there were two categories in which the O’s didn’t rank last, so, hey, maybe there’s hope.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have just one O’s birthday buddy: the late Juan Bell, an infielder acquired in the ill-fated Eddie Murray trade in 1988. Bell played 113 games with the Orioles and batted .167 with a .437 OPS. He would have turned 51 today, but he passed away in 2016.

On this day in 1999, the O’s acquired righty Jason Johnson from Tampa Bay. Johnson spent five years in the Birds’ rotation, going 34-53 with a 4.84 ERA. Johnson, who had diabetes, was the first MLB player granted permission to wear an insulin pump while pitching.