Today is a day for rejoicing. The Orioles won their 10th game of the season last night. They managed to do this before the calendar turned to May. One of the many truly remarkable bits of failure about the 2018 Orioles is that they never managed to win ten or more games in any single calendar month. They got to nine twice, but never ten. Yes, the 2019 Orioles may not get to ten in April either since they won two in March.
Still, it feels better than last year so far. That’s somehow true even though this year’s Orioles have about as bad of a pitching staff as everyone feared, have managed to get blown out a bunch, and have more than half of a lineup full of players who are underperforming. Expectations, or lack thereof, truly make all the difference.
If you think the Orioles aren’t a good team, you’re not wrong. They’re also not the worst team, at least by their record so far. There are still four other teams that have not yet won their 10th game of the season, maybe five depending on the Angels-Yankees result that will finish after I’m asleep. Sorry to shatter the illusion if you believed I get up at 6am to do this.
Are the Orioles worse than these teams overall? Maybe! Their pitching staff is worse than anyone’s, but their offense (118 runs scored) is far outpacing anemic NL teams like the Reds (80) and Marlins (65). Even the 12-11 Tigers, second place in the AL Central, have only scored 73 runs. Better times probably aren’t coming this year, but hopefully some more “it could be worse” times will follow as the season plays out.
Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 93 days ago. The Orioles have not yet announced any plans to retire his jersey or erect his statue at Camden Yards.
Around the blogO’sphere
The Kangaroo Court and Frank Robinson (The Hardball Times)
There’s never a bad time to read about Frank Robinson’s kangaroo court clubhouse antics.
As long rebuild begins, new-look Orioles resolute: ‘We’re going to learn how to win’ (USA Today)
The real answer is probably “get better players,” but “learn how to win” is a nice sentiment nonetheless.
Notes on Karns, Smith, Wright, and Rodriguez (School of Roch)
Don’t panic if you see Grayson Rodriguez miss a start here and there. It’s all part of the Orioles plan to keep his innings under control in his first full pro season.
Renato Nunez showing Orioles a robust bat (Baltimore Baseball)
There have been disappointing Orioles so far this season. Nunez is not one of them.
Orioles trade Mike Wright to Mariners, acquire minor league infielder Ryan Ogren (Baltimore Sun)
Now we will truly find out if Wright blossoms as soon as he gets out of Baltimore.
Rio Ruiz on improving offense and facing defensive shifts (Steve Melewski)
Ruiz is unfazed by shifts against him, even if they put four outfielders out there like the Rays did.
Christian Walker could be for real (Beyond the Box Score)
Walker has been gone for long enough that it’s not worth being upset about him, but his eventually having some big league value is another condemnation of the old regime.
Lastly, something wholesome:
Birthdays and anniversaries
There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2011 Red Sox destroyer Robert Andino, 2000 five-gamer Darren Holmes, and 1955 pitcher Art Schallock. Today is Schallock’s 95th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: Complicated English leader Oliver Cromwell (1599), journalist Edward Murrow (1908), jazz singer Ella Fitzgerald (1916), actor Al Pacino (1940), sportscaster Joe Buck (1969), actress Renee Zellweger (1969), and basketballer Tim Duncan (1976).
On this day in history...
In 1644, the Ming Dynasty of China came to an end when its last emperor, Chongzhen, committed suicide during a peasant rebellion. The Ming were followed by the Qing, a dynasty that would reign until 1912.
In 1792, composer Claude Joseph Rouget de Lisle came up with “La Marseillaise” - still the French national anthem today.
In 1915, during World War I, British troops consisting of a significant number of Australians and New Zealanders landed to begin the land campaign of Gallipoli. ANZAC Day is still remembered annually in those two countries.
In 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson published their paper, “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid,” which described the now-well-known double helix structure of DNA.
In 1960, the submarine USS Triton completed Operation Sandblast, the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe. The Triton was following roughly the same path as Magellan’s first circumnavigation, except it only took the submarine about two months to achieve it, compared to three years from Magellan’s time.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 25 - or at least, unless something happens later on the Orioles day off. Have a safe Thursday.