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Friday Bird Droppings: Where Orioles baseball is back

The second half of the 2019 season begins tonight. Can the O’s manage a few more wins than they did in the first half?

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MLB: Cleveland Indians at Baltimore Orioles
Where was the camera man positioned when taking this picture of Hanser Alberto?
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The All-Star break is over. It’s time to get back to business. The Orioles return to the field tonight to kick off their second-half schedule. They’ll get things started with a nine-game homestand against the Rays, Nationals, and Red Sox.

In the short term, the start of the second half will probably look a lot like the first. The Orioles are still severely lacking in talent and depth, trying to cobble together patchwork solutions in the bullpen and the back of the rotation. They’re still on pace to give up a billion home runs, more or less. They still make sloppy mistakes on a near-daily basis. And they’re still, almost assuredly, going to lose 100 or more games and possibly finish with the worst record in baseball for a second straight year.

But there’s also some intrigue in this second half. We’re two and a half weeks from the trade deadline, when some veteran Orioles could get dealt off to help replenish the minor league system. Homegrown prospects like Ryan Mountcastle, Keegan Akin, or Hunter Harvey could pop their heads up for a late-season promotion to the bigs. Maybe the O’s will find a few diamonds in the rough on the waiver wire. By the end of this season, the Birds’ roster may look very different than it did at the beginning, as the methodical reconstruction of the organization continues.

Let’s see where it takes us.

Links

‘This is a really good place to play if you’re looking for opportunity’: A Q&A with Orioles GM Mike Elias – The Athletic
A Mike Elias interview is always worth a read, and this one is no exception. Here he comments on the Orioles’ first half, the development plans for O’s prospects, Chris Davis’s future in Baltimore, and more.

Questions and curiosities about the Orioles’ second half - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko ponders some questions about the Orioles’ second half, including how the Orioles will fill their holes in center field and the rotation and the bullpen and...heck, just the entire roster, really.

Renato Núñez on his first-half power display - Steve Melewski
In just over a year, Nunez has progressed from a minor league waiver claim to the Orioles’ most prolific power hitter. I’m not convinced he’ll be a big part of the future unless he can play defense, but he’s been a good story all the same.

Two Up, Two Down: What’s Gone Right, Wrong For Orioles Pitchers - PressBoxOnline.com
Andrew Cashner and Shawn Armstrong have been good. Mychal Givens and David Hess have not. Matt Kremnitzer’s article offers considerably more analysis than that.

Orioles birthdays and history

As far as birthdays go, there’s none better than July 12. Happy birthday to my sweet, beautiful daughter, Maggie, who I can’t believe is two years old already. She’s the greatest thing that ever happened to me, and I’m so incredibly lucky to get to hang out with her every day. Love you, Maggie!

Is today your birthday, too? Happy birthday! One Oriole was born on this day: the late 1958-59 righty Jack Harshman (b. 1927, d. 2013).

On this day in 2005, Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada was named All-Star Game MVP after his home run off John Smoltz gave the American League the lead in an eventual 7-5 win. Tejada was one of four Orioles to make the All-Star team that year, along with second baseman Brian Roberts, third baseman Melvin Mora, and closer B.J. Ryan.