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Monday Bird Droppings: Where things have gotten ugly in a hurry

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Less than a week ago, the Orioles were riding high with a 4-1 record. Now they’ve lost four in a row and looked terrible doing it.

New York Yankees v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Remember the first five games of the season? That sure was fun, huh? The O’s were winning games — on the road, even — with hustle and determination and grit and whatever other cliches you want to use. They reeled off four wins in a row, defying the critics who decreed they’d be the worst team in the majors. For a few days, O’s fans dared to dream that the club could outperform expectations and at least approach mediocrity this season.

Well, life comes at you fast.

The Orioles have spent the past four games looking like every bit the overmatched, understaffed cellar dwellers the pundits projected. Their first series at Camden Yards, which resulted in a three-game Yankees sweep, was particularly gruesome. The O’s pitching staff was demolished for 14 home runs by an injury-depleted Yankee lineup. Seven of those came in Sunday’s unwatchable finale, which I nevertheless watched and recapped in all its horror.

This pitching staff is a wreck, y’all. Seven pitchers on the active O’s roster have an ERA above 5.00, including newcomer Dan Straily, who boasts a 33.75 mark after giving up five runs in his Orioles debut.

After getting trounced by one of the 2018 AL wild card teams over the weekend, the Orioles will now take on the other one, with the Oakland Athletics heading to Baltimore for a four-game set.

The immediate focus — for all the wrong reasons — will be on Chris Davis, who is now just two hitless at-bats away from equaling the longest hit drought for a position player in MLB history: 46, held by light-hitting utility man Eugenio Velez. If Davis is in the lineup tonight, he could well tie or break that mark. No word on whether the Orioles will be unfurling numbers from the warehouse, Cal Ripken style.

Links

Orioles have a forgettable afternoon against the Yankees - BaltimoreBaseball.com
If only it were that easy to forget.

Davis now 0-for-44, closing in on futility mark - ESPN
It’s never a good sign when your name appears in the same headline as the phrase “futility mark.” Such is the new normal for Chris Davis.

Earning trust, Means set for 1st MLB start - Orioles.com
Hey, not all the news is bad for the Orioles. John Means has been pretty impressive for a guy who was never a highly touted prospect, and now he’s being rewarded with his first major league start. Let’s hope Means justifies the end...er, the start.

Frank Robinson ceremony serves as a reminder that the living Orioles’ Hall of Famers should be seen and heard often – The Athletic
If there’s one thing the Orioles always do well, it’s celebrating their legendary players. Saturday’s Frank Robinson tribute was no exception, writes Dan Connolly.

Former Oriole Zack Britton catches up with superfan Mo on return to Camden Yards - Baltimore Sun
You all know that Zack Britton is the best, right? And also, Mo is the best. And everything about this story makes me smile.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your big day with Jeremy Guthrie (40), who was the ace of some terrible O’s pitching staffs about a decade ago. In five years with the Birds, Guthrie went 47-65 with a 4.12 ERA. He is also, by all accounts, a super nice guy.

Your other O’s birthday buddies include failed 2017 righty Jeremy Hellickson (32); lefty Brian Burres (38), one of the four pitchers in that fateful 30-3 loss to the Rangers in 2007; and the late 1962 lefty Dick Luebke. And a very happy birthday to 1955 four-gamer Charlie Maxwell, who turns 92 years old today.

On this day last year, the Orioles took three out of four games at Yankee Stadium with a wild win in the finale, capped by Brad Brach pitching out of a bases-loaded, no-out jam in the 12th. That improved the Birds’ record to a not-horrible 4-6. They never pulled that close to .500 again.