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Monday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are back to striking out a lot

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The Orioles woke up the Indians offense while their own went to sleep. Not a great weekend!

Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Indians Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

A tough weekend for the Orioles is finally over. If you missed Sunday’s series finale against the Indians, you’re better off for it. Of the various things to happen this weekend, the one that I think is just the most 2019 Orioles of all of them is that the Indians had not scored 10+ runs in any game before playing the O’s. They did so twice in a four-game series.

Check out Drew Bonifant’s recap of the 10-0 shutout loss from Sunday afternoon for some not-so-lovely totals. Things are not going great right now. The 15 strikeout performance the O’s had against Indians starter Shane Bieber yesterday wasn’t much fun, though it wasn’t their most embarrassing performance of the weekend. Getting one hit in a game started by Adam Plutko, which they did on Saturday, is surely worse.

The Orioles are now 15-31 on the season. They are now on pace to win 53 games, if you round up. That’s still six wins better than what they managed to accomplish last year. So that’s something. In the quest for the #1 pick in the 2020 draft, the Marlins sit at 13-31, and the O’s are now ahead of the Royals and their 16-31 record by a half a game.

The other big Orioles “on pace for” topic is their prodigious ability to give up home runs. In Sunday’s loss, the O’s allowed only a single home run, giving them 94 home runs allowed in 46 games. If you think that sounds bad, that’s because it is. The team is now on pace to allow 331 home runs on the year, beating the current record of 258 home runs allowed by the 2016 Reds by a handy margin of 73.

There are 116 games still to play for these O’s. Every game where they give up only one home run puts the day they break the record farther off. Every game where they give up two or more homers brings them closer to the record. Do you think they will pull off the miracle and avoid it? Or will they have this thing in the bag before we even get into September?

Unfortunately for O’s fans, the home runs allowed chase is just about the only interesting thing going on with the team right now. Maybe some time soon, at least, there will be a new wave of players getting chances. Here are three guys and their batting lines in Triple-A Norfolk headed into yesterday’s games:

  • DJ Stewart: .293/.408/.577
  • Chance Sisco: .267/.380/.500
  • Ryan Mountcastle: .321/.345/.494

I understand why Sisco is not here. His having thrown out just four of 24 base-stealers on the season makes it tough to stick him at catcher. Mountcastle, having been shifted to first base, is blocked by the presence of Chris Davis and Trey Mancini. Stewart’s opportunity is probably on hold due to the early success of Dwight Smith Jr. But as I look at Renato Nunez’s .211/.253/.379 batting line, I’d rather see Stewart get those chances going forward.

Part of the Mike Elias plan for 2019 has to be to not give up on any player too early. I recently finished reading Astroball, a book by Ben Reiter, the Sports Illustrated writer who in 2014 wrote an article which boldly proclaimed that the Astros would win the World Series in 2017.

A lot of things went right for the Astros to fulfill that prediction, but at least one did not: That team gave up on late-blooming slugger J.D. Martinez before he bloomed. It’s not very likely that Nunez is the next Martinez. But it doesn’t hurt Elias or the Orioles much to show some patience with players just in case.

Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 121 days ago. The Orioles have not announced any plans to retire his jersey number or add his statue to the rest at Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere

Pregame talk about DJ Stewart, Renato Núñez, and more (Steve Melewski)
Manager Brandon Hyde has noticed Stewart’s performance, which will have to be enough to satisfy me for now.

Rio Ruiz riding new routine to be team’s hottest hitter in May (Baltimore Sun)
Ruiz attributes his current hot hitting to arriving at the same time every day, allowing him to have a good and regular routine.

How Wilkerson’s versatility has paid off for O’s (Orioles.com)
The people in charge seem to be happy with how the Stevie Wilkerson center field experiment is going so far.

Blaine Knight’s confident he’s on the path towards the Orioles (Baltimore Baseball)
Knight is one of the prospects this year who’s only made it easier to hope that he might be a part of the next good Orioles rotation.

Hays happy with health (School of Roch)
I’m hoping that Austin Hays plays his way onto the list of guys where I’m wondering why he’s not in Baltimore yet.

Orioles once designated for assignment take positives from time in baseball’s purgatory (Baltimore Sun)
The individual stories of what happens in DFA limbo are interesting to me. Everyone handles it differently.

Birthdays and anniversaries

There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2006-08 catcher Ramon Hernandez, 1988 two-gamer Gordon Dillard, and 1996 starting pitcher David Wells.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: novelist Honore de Balzac (1799), philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806), Gramophone record inventor Emile Berliner (1851), entertainer Cher (1946), rapper Busta Rhymes (1972), and singer-songwriter Rachel Platten (1981).

On this day in history...

In 1498, Portuguese explorer Vasco de Gama arrived in what is today Kozhikode, India, making him the first explorer to have found a sea route to India.

In 1609, publisher Thomas Thorpe released the first-ever publication of the 154 non-play sonnets written by William Shakespeare. It’s unclear to history whether Thorpe used an authorized manuscript for the publication.

In 1873, Levi Strauss and his now less-known partner Jacob Davis received a patent in the US for blue jeans made with copper rivets.

In 1932, Amelia Earhart took off from Newfoundland in an effort to be the first woman to complete a solo, nonstop transatlantic flight. She landed successfully in Ireland the next day.

In 1969, American and South Vietnamese forces captured Hill 937 after a ten-day battle, which came to be known as the Battle of Hamburger Hill, The aftermath of this battle, including the American forces abandoning the position two weeks later, is seen now as one of the turning points of public opinion against the Vietnam War.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on May 20 - or at least, until something happens later when the Orioles play the Yankees. Have a safe Monday. Go O’s!