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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where the No. 1 pick is back in play

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The Tigers once seemed to have a firm grip on next year’s No. 1 pick. The hapless Orioles say, “Not so fast, my friends.”

Kansas City Royals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Remember July 31? It was less than three weeks ago, so if you don’t, you should really see a doctor about that. Anyway, the Orioles had just finished a 12-12 month of baseball, their first .500 month since August 2017, and appeared to be on a modest upswing. Meanwhile, the Detroit Tigers spent their trade deadline day dealing away their best hitter, Nicholas Castellanos, and their All-Star closer, Shane Greene. Their record was the worst in baseball, 2.5 games behind the Birds and falling fast. The Tigers, it seemed, would freefall their way to the No. 1 pick in the 2020 draft. There was no catching them.

Ah, my friends. You must have forgotten how truly dreadful the 2019 Orioles are. No pinnacle of incompetence is ever out of their reach.

The Orioles have since gone 3-15 in August, which includes their current eight-game losing streak. Last night’s contest was practically a master class in how to fritter away a ballgame. The O’s carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning, then proceeded to hand a victory to the Royals on a silver platter thanks to defensive ineptitude, baserunning blundery, and other assorted shenanigans. Alex Church recapped the mistake-fest.

Don’t look now, but the Orioles now have more losses than the Tigers do. The No. 1 pick is nearly back in their hands. And on a night when their most recent No. 1 pick, Adley Rutschman, went 5-for-5 with a homer at Aberdeen, that doesn’t sound like such a bad thing.

There’s still more than a month of baseball left to be played, so this “race” could continue to take some twists and turns. When it’s all said and done, perhaps the Tigers will end up being the worst after all. But the Orioles aren’t going to down without a fight.

Links

35 under 35: Orioles’ Brad Ciolek shows that yes, you really can leave that Ozzie the Cougar costume behind – The Athletic
Be honest: when’s the last time you thought about the Orioles’ interim scouting director? But Brad Ciolek, as it turns out, has a pretty interesting story, part of a series of Athletic profiles of baseball wunderkinds.

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper on O’s top 10 farm ranking - Steve Melewski
The Orioles’ farm system is no longer something to be embarrassed about. In fact, it might actually be...good? Here, J.J. Cooper talks about what’s going right in the Orioles’ minor leagues.

Will the Orioles break last year’s record for players used? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
In case you haven’t noticed, the Orioles have used a whole heck of a lot of players this year. With three more, they’ll set a new franchise record. Who might those three be?

Baltimore Orioles Announce 2020 Spring Training Season | Sarasota Magazine
This information is available elsewhere, but how often do I get to link to Sarasota Magazine?

Baltimore Orioles Cut Ties With Two Minor League Pitchers - Birds Watcher
Two members of the Norfolk shuttle will be shuttling to Baltimore no longer. Farewell, Matt Wotherspoon and Josh Lucas.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have two O’s birthday buddies: Aruban outfielder Gene Kingsale (43) and the late George Zuverink (b. 1924, d. 2014), a rubber-armed reliever in the late 1950s. Fun fact: in an alphabetical listing of all Orioles in franchise history, Zuverink’s name comes last. You came so close, Frank Zupo.

On this date in 1978, Dennis Martinez pitched 11 scoreless innings for the Orioles in an eventual 1-0, 14-inning loss to the Angels. Exactly four years later, Martinez pitched 10 innings in a game the O’s ultimately won over the Rangers, 4-2.

On this day in 2015, the Orioles were walloped by the Twins, 15-2, which started a brutal stretch in which the O’s lost 12 of 13 games. When it started, they were 62-57 and just a half game out of a wild card spot. When the dust cleared, they were 63-69 and 6.5 games out.

Race for the HRs allowed record (through 125 games)

Team HRs allowed 162-game pace Final season total
Team HRs allowed 162-game pace Final season total
2019 Orioles 257 333 ??
2016 Reds 202 262 258

It’s almost time! By giving up two home runs last night, the Orioles are now just one gopher ball away from tying the 2016 Reds’ MLB record for homers allowed, and two away from breaking it. It could well happen tonight, people. Will there be extra media on hand? Will the O’s unfurl numbers from the warehouse, Cal Ripken style? The excitement is palpable.