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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles’ schedule is getting easier

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The Orioles face only three winning teams from now until the end of the season. Maybe a decent September record is on the horizon.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

If you’re the kind of fan who’s rooting for the Orioles to lose so they can get the No. 1 draft pick next year, well, I don’t particularly want to talk to you. And you might not get your wish anyway. The Orioles have just finished a brutal stretch of their schedule in which 19 of their past 22 games were against winning teams. (They went 4-15 against those foes.) Now, things get a lot easier.

Starting with tonight’s three-game series against the Royals, the third-worst team in baseball, the O’s have a relatively easy slate to finish the 2019 season. Only nine of their final 29 games are against clubs that are over .500. That includes a four-game September series against the only team in baseball worse than the Orioles, the Tigers, who currently have a four-game “lead” for the No. 1 pick. The Tigers were blanked by the Indians last night, 2-0.

With their schedule what it is, the O’s don’t figure to “catch” Detroit. It’s also possible they could wind up with a better record than the Royals (who are currently two games better than the O’s).

And honestly, I’d be fine with that. I get that it’s better to have the first overall pick than the No. 2 or 3, but the Orioles will still be in position to draft a pretty excellent player either way. Being the worst team in baseball for one season was enough for me, thank you very much. There’s no need to do it again.

Links

Long on Villar: “He's really under control” - School of Roch
Orioles hitting coach and Stacey's uncle Don Long (not actually Stacey’s uncle) offers his thoughts on Jonathan Villar’s second-half surge.

Hanser Alberto is putting the finishing touches on a strong season - Steve Melewski
Included in this nice profile of Alberto is this factoid: he could become the first player with more than 80 hits against lefties in a season since Ichiro Suzuki in 2004. Hanser Alberto and Ichiro Suzuki mentioned in the same sentence, as usual.

Mancini’s pizza order may spark some opinions - Orioles.com
Trey Mancini provides some insight into his life beyond baseball. He says his favorite pizza is meat lover’s, which sparks my opinion that he is correct. That is indeed the best pizza.

The key is patience: A scout could see starters in DL Hall and Brenan Hanifee from High-A Frederick – The Athletic
The Keys are the least interesting of the Orioles’ minor league affiliates this season, consisting of DL Hall and a bunch of no-names. But this scout has some good things to say about a few of the fringe prospects.

Orioles announce plans to extend netting by next homestand - BaltimoreBaseball.com
The Orioles also announced this news on Twitter, and as you might expect, plenty of morons came out of the woodwork in the replies.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your day with only one player in O’s history, right-hander Kris Foster (45), who appeared in seven games in 2001. That was the extent of his major league career.

On this day in 2014, the playoff-bound Orioles acquired veterans Alejandro De Aza and Kelly Johnson for the stretch drive. De Aza ended up being a pretty good addition, hitting .293/.341/.537 in 30 regular season games and .333/.391/.476 in the playoffs before flaming out the following season. Johnson didn’t contribute much, but by joining the O’s, he completed the AL East cycle by playing for all five teams in the division.