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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where we’re enjoying the playoffs so far

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Despite our favorite team not being included, the MLB postseason has captured our interest.

MLB: ALCS-Houston Astros at Tampa Bay Rays Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Have you been tuning into the MLB postseason this month? I know there’s plenty of folks who don’t bother watching the playoffs if the Orioles aren’t in them — including about a third of the voters in last week’s poll — but you’ve missed some, dare I say, exciting baseball to this point.

There have been plenty of intriguing storylines from the get-go. The COVID-ravaged Marlins, who used 61 players to get through 60 games, made it to the dance and swept the Cubs. The Athletics and Braves finally won playoff series to break their decades-long droughts, while the hard-luck Twins extended their worst-in-the-history-of-sports postseason losing streak to 18. The up-and-coming Padres bashed their way to a series win in their first October action since 2006. The low-payroll Rays took down the high-priced Yankees on Mike Brosseau’s revenge against Aroldis Chapman. And we got to watch eight postseason games in a single day, which was glorious, though please don’t consider it an endorsement of making the expanded playoffs a permanent thing. (Get outta here with that, Rob Manfred.)

So far, the Championship Series have been hard-fought contests, too. Both ALCS games have been decided by two or fewer runs — both won by the Rays — and Game 1 of the NLCS was decided in the final at-bat, with the Braves plating four runs in the ninth to hand the Dodgers their first loss of the playoffs.

Yeah, the playoffs might be missing the Orioles. But if you’re a fan of baseball, you couldn’t ask for much better than what we’ve seen so far.

Links

Orioles can look to Rays for how winners are constructed - BaltimoreBaseball.com
In time, posits Rich Dubroff, perhaps the Orioles can become as consistently successful as the Tampa Bay Rays. From your lips to the baseball gods’ ears, Rich.

50 years later: An oral history of the ‘Brooks Robinson World Series’ – The Athletic
There’s never a bad time to remember how awesome Brooks Robinson was. And the 50-year anniversary of his dominant 1970 World Series is an especially good time.

Light free agent winter workload for Orioles - School of Roch
The Orioles have only two pending free agents, Wade LeBlanc and Bryan Holaday. I’m going to go out on a limb and say neither one will be signing a Chris Davis-type contract extension. #analysis

A tale of two seasons for Orioles catchers - Steve Melewski
Remember halfway through the season when Pedro Severino and Chance Sisco were killing it and we were all, “Adley who? Har har!” Yeah, turns out the Orioles' current catching situation is not actually that great.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your two Orioles birthday buddies are 2005-06 righty Hayden Penn (36) and the late 1956 and 1958 lefty Ron Moeller (b. 1938, d. 2009).

The Orioles have played five postseason games on this date in history, winning three and losing two.

  • In 1970, the Orioles beat the Reds in Game 3 of the World Series in front of 51,773 fans at Memorial Stadium, taking a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Orioles’ Dave McNally not only threw a complete game but also hit a grand slam, becoming the first and only pitcher ever to do the latter in a World Series game. Frank Robinson homered as part of a three-hit game and Brooks Robinson continued his stellar defensive work at third base.
  • In 1971, in the first night game in World Series history, the Orioles lost in Pittsburgh, 4-3. The Birds scored three runs in the first off starter Luke Walker but then were held scoreless for the rest of the game by Bruce Kison and Dave Giusti. Milt May’s seventh-inning RBI single off O’s reliever Eddie Watt snapped a three-all tie. The Pirates win evened the series at two games apiece.
  • In 1979, again in Pittsburgh, the Orioles exploded for a six-run eighth inning for a comeback win, 9-6, in Game 4 of the World Series. John Lowenstein and Terry Crowley each ripped pinch-hit, two-run doubles, and even relief pitcher Tim Stoddard contributed with an RBI single in addition to finishing the game with three scoreless innings. The Orioles took a 3-1 lead in the series, and without looking it up, I’m sure everything went just swimmingly after that.
  • In 1996, the Orioles were eliminated by the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALCS in Baltimore. The Yanks did all their scoring in a six-run third inning that included homers by Jim Leyritz, Cecil Fielder (a grand slam), and Darryl Strawberry off the Birds’ Scott Erickson. Five of the runs were unearned after a costly Roberto Alomar error extended the inning. A late-inning Orioles comeback fell short in their 6-4 defeat.
  • And in 1997, the Orioles won Game 5 of the ALCS against the Indians, keeping their season alive for another day. Geronimo Berroa’s two-run single in the third and Eric Davis’ two-run homer in the ninth provided enough run support for Scott Kamieniecki and Jimmy Key, who combined for eight scoreless innings.