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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles offense is struggling with RISP

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The Orioles were 0-13 with runners in scoring position yesterday. No wonder they lost both games.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There were always bound to be times this season where the pleasant glow of a better future became hard to see in the face of the bright, hopeless light of the present day of the 2019 Orioles. The current stretch where the Orioles have lost six of their last seven games, with the offense scoring fewer than three runs per game on average in that time, is not one of the fun times.

Wednesday’s doubleheader against the Yankees was an exercise in futility. The Orioles combined to go 0-13 with runners in scoring position across both games. That’s a tough way to try to win a couple of games. The Baltimore Sun’s Nathan Ruiz noted that the Orioles are now 6-60 in those situations over their past ten games.

Check out Paul Folkemer’s recap to see what you missed in the first game, and Alex Church’s recap of the night half of the doubleheader to enlighten yourself about the second game.

After watching those games yesterday, what’s bringing me down about the Orioles right now is the outfield. One of the things I tried to tell myself heading into the season was that, at least we might finally be able to see a real outfield full of outfielders this season.

That has not proven to be the case. Yesterday saw first baseman Trey Mancini bump into utility infielder Steve Wilkerson while going to make a catch. That’s not a shock when you play infielders in the outfield and then expect them to do normal stuff. Mancini committed an error in the first game and Joey Rickard committed an error in the second game. Rickard simply failed to catch an easy ball in one of the worst-looking outfield plays you’ll ever see.

The hoped-for outfield from back in spring training hasn’t materialized yet. The struggles of Cedric Mullins to stay afloat at the MLB level, along with Rickard’s struggle while somehow staying on the roster, have left the Orioles frequently deploying the kind of patchwork that does no one any favors.

Maybe none of this really matters all that much as long as Orioles pitchers are going to continue to give up a bazillion home runs. But I’ll feel a little better about it if Mullins plays his way back to MLB, and Austin Hays gets himself into the mix as well.

The chase for the home runs allowed record continues. The Orioles gave up four home runs in the first game yesterday and one homer in the second game. That leaves them with 89 home runs surrendered in 42 games, a pace over a full season of 343 home runs allowed. The question continues to be when, rather than if, these O’s will blow past the record of 258 home runs allowed by the 2016 Reds.

Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 117 days ago. The Orioles have not yet announced any plans to retire his jersey number or erect his statue at Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere

Rebuilding Baltimore Orioles already better than last year’s team (Forbes)
Sometimes this feels like it’s true and sometimes it doesn’t. Right now is one of the times where it doesn’t, so it’s nice to be reminded that maybe this is a little better.

Smith Jr. flourishing in the fast lane (
Dwight Smith Jr.’s advice from his retired MLB dad: “Don’t miss your fastball.” And this year, he hasn’t been.

Wrapping up 5-3 loss in Game 1 (School of Roch)
I’m including this one mostly because of the quotes from catcher Austin Wynns, who accurately summed up the home runs allowed stuff as “embarrassing.”

One year into his major league career, David Hess seeks to develop consistency (Baltimore Sun)
My pet peeve word right now that is meaningless in baseball commentary is “consistency.” David Hess IS consistent at not pitching well enough for MLB success, including yesterday when he gave up four home runs. He just hasn’t been good.

Elias on draft: “A rare opportunity to get an impact player” (Steve Melewski)
Mike Elias is not a guy who gives specifics very often, but it’s always enlightening to see what he has to say as far as a broad philosophy. For now, he says there are five players under strong consideration and one or two dark horse contenders.

Birthdays and anniversaries

Today in 1984, the Orioles released future Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Palmer. In five games in the young season, he had a 9.17 ERA. His career 2.86 ERA in nearly 4,000 innings pitched remains impressive, as do his three Cy Young Awards, his never giving up a grand slam in MLB, and his remaining the only pitcher to ever win a World Series game in three different decades.

There are a handful of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2018 futility infielder Luis Sardinas, 2000 reserve Ivanon Coffie, and the late Dave Philley of the 1955-56/60-61 Orioles.

Today is also the birthday of current Orioles pitching coach Doug Brocail. He turns 52 years old today.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Alaska-purchasing Secretary of State William Seward (1801), actor Henry Fonda (1905), historian Studs Terkel (1912), artist Janet Jackson (1966), actress Tori Spelling (1973), and actress Megan Fox (1986).

On this day in history...

In 1843, what’s recognized as the first major wagon train set off from Elk Grove, Missouri along the Oregon Trail. If you’re close to my age, you probably remember the computer game.

In 1868, President Andrew Johnson avoided removal from office in his impeachment trial in the Senate by a margin of one vote.

In 1951, regularly scheduled transatlantic flights existed for the first time, as El Al Israel Airlines scheduled flights between what’s today JFK Airport in New York City and Heathrow Airport in London.

In 1966, China’s Communist Party issued the “May 16 Notice,” a simple title for what’s now known as the Cultural Revolution. Over the next decade, as many as several million Chinese were killed for suspicions of bourgeosie sympathies and thinking.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on May 16 - or at least, until something happens later when the Orioles play the Indians. The game is scheduled to start at the unusual time of 6:10 Eastern, so don’t say you weren’t warned. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!