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Monday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles have won two in a row

August hasn’t been a lot of fun for the Orioles, at least until the last two games.

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Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

If you didn’t hear the news over the weekend, the Orioles got mathematically eliminated from 2019 playoff contention on Friday night. Perhaps the only surprise is that it did not happen sooner. With nothing left to play for as a team except maybe as a spoiler for a playoff contender’s chances, the O’s then went on to win the next two games against the currently playoff-bound Rays.

You might not think that the Orioles are too bad a baseball team if you had only watched those last two games. The starting pitchers pitched reasonably well. The hitters proved capable of capitalizing on scoring chances, or of just making scoring chances by hitting home runs. Neither on defense nor on the bases were there a plethora of staggeringly stupid plays. It was fun.

There might even have been small glimpses of a better Orioles future in there. Every good John Means start from here on out makes him a little bit more likely to be a building block rather than a flash in the pan. Anthony Santander had a five-hit game in Sunday’s win. Hanser Alberto is still getting things done as one of baseball’s most unlikely success stories. Renato Nunez added three hits. Even Hunter Harvey’s scoreless inning on Saturday could have been a sign of happier days to come.

Since we can’t have nice things for too long, both Alberto and Nunez came out of the game early due to injuries that will hopefully not prove to be very serious. Means is not going to make his next start either, though at least his absence isn’t related to an injury. See the links below for updates there.

Check out Alex Church’s recap of the 8-3 victory from yesterday, and don’t forget to vote in the Most Birdland Player poll.

It’s more fun to watch wins like this than the hopeless losses that came earlier in August. This is not a good baseball team for a variety of reasons. The Orioles are not very likely to become a good baseball team next year either, no matter how many young players in age or service time go on a tear to close out the season.

The Rays might have felt they were getting four gimme games against a bad team and they only won two of them. Next, after an off day today, the O’s will get two chances to do a little spoiling of the Nationals odds of making it into the postseason as well.

The two recent wins came on days where the Tigers lost their games, so the O’s are now 2.5 games ahead of the Tigers in the standings and therefore 2.5 games out of the #1 pick in the 2020 draft. Three games separate the Orioles and Royals, who are the current holders of the #3 pick. At this point, it would take a lot to change their position either direction.

Mike Mussina was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame 219 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

Means removed from active roster (School of Roch)
Fresh off one of his best starts of the year, John Means has been placed on the family medical emergency list. The team did not elaborate on why. Hopefully things end up OK. A player must remain on this list for 3-7 days.

Mike Elias calls it restructuring and not reducing, but the firing of Orioles’ top scouts smells like budget cuts (The Athletic)
One reason why a lot of these guys still had jobs is probably because the Orioles hadn’t before now made an effort to hire people with an understanding of modern baseball thinking.

Alberto, Nunez leave game with injuries (
There may be more roster shuffling if either Hanser Alberto or Renato Nunez have to land on the injured list. Alberto got inadvertently kneed in the head while sliding into second base, while Nunez had some hamstring tightness.

The Stewart/Mountcastle connection (Steve Melewski)
DJ Stewart and Ryan Mountcastle shared some Florida connections even before both were drafted by the Orioles with the O’s top two picks in 2015.

Will Ryan Mountcastle be among Orioles September additions? (Baltimore Baseball)
Count me as being slightly more interested in seeing Mountcastle as a September callup than another possibility mentioned here, Christopher Bostick.

Rodriguez, Rutschman connect at Delmarva: “You’re looking at, potentially, the future of the organization” (Baltimore Sun)
The first go-round for the Grayson Rodriguez-Adley Rutschman battery didn’t go so well for either player. It probably won’t be the last time these two guys are paired up.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2011, the Orioles had to reschedule a doubleheader against the Yankees due to the impending arrival of Hurricane Irene. The Yankees whined about losing a later off day.

In 2012, the O’s acquired wild card game hero Joe Saunders from the Diamondbacks for pitcher Matt Lindstrom, who himself was part of the Jeremy Guthrie trade less than a year previously.

Of all the players to ever play for the Orioles, not a single one has a birthday today.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: map projection pioneer Johann Heinrich Lambert (1728), chemist Antoine Lavoisier (1743), author Christopher Isherwood (1904), Mother Teresa (1910), modern jazz man Branford Marsalis (1960), and actress Melissa McCarthy (1970).

On this day in history...

In 1346, during the Hundred Years War, the English defeated the French at the Battle of Crecy, a battle significant for its demonstration of the superiority of the English longbow over French knights.

In 1920, the 19th Amendment took effect, after having been ratified about a week earlier by Tennessee. The amendment grants women the right to vote. Maryland had rejected the amendment earlier in the year and did not have its post-ratification passage certified until 1958.

In 1944, during World War II, French leader Charles de Gaulle returned to Paris as it was liberated from Nazi Germany control.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 26 - or at least, unless something changes later on the Orioles off day. Have a safe Monday.