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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles west coast swing continues

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The Orioles are still (slightly) not the worst team in MLB. Today, focus is on an improved farm.

Baltimore Orioles v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

We’re not rid of Pacific time zone baseball just yet. Fresh off losing two out of three to the Diamondbacks in Arizona, the Orioles will be in California to start a four-game weekend set tonight against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, who actually officially dropped that “of Anaheim” part before the 2016 season but will be stuck with it forever because it’s just too amusing.

If you missed Wednesday afternoon’s series finale in Arizona, that’s probably for the best. It was stupid. Check out Paul Folkemer’s recap of the action to see what particular brand of 2019 Orioles failure you may have missed in that contest.

The Orioles are 10-11 in their last 21 games now. That mild improvement combined with extreme failure on the part of the Tigers meant that after Tuesday’s win, the Orioles no longer had the worst record in MLB. That’s still true after Wednesday’s loss. The Tigers, at a .309 winning percentage, are worse than the O’s at .317. Right now, the Orioles will have to settle for the #2 pick in next year’s draft. The O’s have four games against the 53-49 Angels, while the Tigers play four against the 42-63 Mariners.

The team will have a slightly different look as they play this next stretch of games. There was a little roster news following Wednesday’s loss: Rio Ruiz was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. The Sun’s Jon Meoli said that Ruiz’s wife is due to have the couple’s first baby very shortly, adding that the demotion is “certainly not based on performance.” I believe him about the baby, but looking at Ruiz’s season batting line of .238/.306/.335, I have to ask, why wouldn’t it be based on performance? Even the 2019 O’s have some standards.

The Orioles chase for the most home runs allowed is, of course, still on. They gave up two home runs in in Wednesday’s loss, bringing them up to 191 dingers on the season. The record, as you have been hearing all year, is 258 given up by the 2016 Reds. The O’s have 61 games still to play and they’re 67 homers shy, so they’re not yet across the line where they could allow a homer per game and still break the record. It’s just very close, and Mike Trout and his 33 homers await in the next four games.

There have been 187 days since Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame and as of this weekend he has been officially inducted. The Orioles have not announced any plans to retire his jersey number or erect his statue at Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere

Looking ahead to the trade deadline and possible ramifications for the Orioles (Baltimore Baseball)
Rich Dubroff, working with an assumption that Mychal Givens will be traded, sets about trying to figure out who might be able to fill Givens’s role in the bullpen.

Trey Mancini’s path to majors followed Christian Walker’s, but only one saw it through with the Orioles (Baltimore Sun)
The Sun’s Jon Meoli took a look at some of the parallels in the minor league careers of Mancini and former Oriole/current Diamondback Walker.

Asher Wojciechowski created a terrific breaking ball (Beyond the Box Score)
We all know better than to get our hopes up about anything to do with the 2019 Orioles, but if the improvement offered here is for real, that would be fun.

Updating Rutschman’s Aberdeen debut (School of Roch)
It’s now expected to happen on Saturday. Get hype!

Bowie manager Buck Britton: “It’s been a special turnaround” (Steve Melewski)
Earlier this year, the Baysox were 7-23 and had the worst record of any minor league team. That bummed me out. Things have clicked for them a lot better since then.

Mason McCoy’s quiet rise through the Orioles system (Baltimore Baseball)
One guy who’s helped fuel the Baysox resurgence is prospect Mason McCoy, whose 2019 minor league success is one of the more out-of-nowhere stories from the O’s farm.

Fangraphs farm system rankings update: Orioles come in 12th (Fangraphs)
A whole lot of this comes from adding Adley Rutschman into the system. Some other prospects improving fortunes have also helped a little bit.

Birthdays and anniversaries

There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: Jose Bautista (not that one), 1998 starter Doug Drabek, the late Mickey Scott of the 1972-73 O’s, and the late 1959 Oriole Whitey Lockman.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: biologist Paul Langerhans (1847), actress Estelle Getty (1923), football legend Walter Payton (1954), and actor Matt LeBlanc (1967). Today would have been the 78th birthday of 1955 lynching victim Emmett Till.

On this day in history...

In 1603, Scotland’s James VI was crowned as the king of England, which he reigned as James I. This personal union of the crowns of England and Scotland wasn’t formalized into a political union until more than a century later.

In 1788, Mozart completed “Symphony No. 40 in G minor,” one of only two minor-key symphonies he wrote. The name itself may not ring any bells for you but I bet you’ve heard the first 30 seconds before.

In 1866, Congress passed legislation which authorized the creation of the rank of “General of the Army,” then a four-star rank. The first to be promoted to this rank was Lieutenant General and future president Ulysses S. Grant.

In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, American infantry landed on Puerto Rico after a two-month naval blockade. When the war ended, Spain ceded sovereignty of the territory to the US.

In 1965, Bob Dylan appeared at the Newport Folk Festival with an electric guitar, his first public electric performance. Some people were unhappy about this.

In 1978, a baby girl was born in England after being conceived through in vitro fertilization. This was the first time the IVF procedure was a success for humans. The baby, Louise Joy Brown, is no known relation of this blogger.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 25 - or at least, until something happens later when the Orioles play the Angels. And they could trade someone else at any time! Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!