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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where it’s not even April yet

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Time sure does...uh...what’s the opposite of fly?

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Quick, without looking it up, how long has it been since baseball season was officially suspended, ushering in a wave of business shutdowns and (for many of us) non-stop confinement in our homes? I’m gonna say...six months. No, seven.

And the answer is...19 days?? That’s it??!

Oy. I would say time is standing still, but somehow it seems to be going slower than that. Time is, like, moving backwards. It’s still March, people! When this month began, the Orioles were just over a week into their Grapefruit League schedule, and the thought of coronavirus spreading its rampage over the country and torpedoing the sports world was barely on anybody’s mind. Now look at us. We already know there won’t be any baseball in April. There almost certainly won’t be any in May. The number of coronavirus cases in the U.S. hasn’t peaked yet and isn’t expected to for at least a few more weeks. And so we wait, and we social distance, and we try to keep ourselves and our loved ones as safe as possible.

That wait has only just begun, even it if it feels like it’s been forever.

In the meantime, the Orioles have missed the first four scheduled games of the 2020 regular season, with countless more to come. And while Baseball Reference is simulating the season via Out of the Park Baseball 21 (in which the Birds are 0-4 so far), I’m simulating the season using my own system called PWAG, or Paul’s Wild-Ass Guesses. Let’s see what last night’s game looked like:

Meanwhile, in a parallel universe...

In a universe where COVID-19 doesn’t exist, the Orioles continued their hot start to the 2020 season. They began by taking two out of three from the Yankees in the opening series, just as they did in 2019 (only this time, hopefully, they won’t lose their remaining 16 games to the Yanks). Last night, the Birds took on the Red Sox, playing at their new 6:35 start time they’ll be using for weeknight games before Memorial Day and after Labor Day.

With longtime Oriole destroyer Mookie Betts no longer in the Boston lineup, O’s starter Wade LeBlanc managed to navigate his way through five innings, holding the Sox to two runs. His counterpart Collin McHugh, making his Sox debut, was tagged for four runs in four innings. Chris Davis tagged him for a two-run single and Jose Iglesias a pair of hits, including an RBI double. The Birds padded their lead against the Red Sox middle relief corps, with Renato Nunez blasting his second home run of the year, in an eventual 8-4 Birds victory.

With that, the Orioles improved to 3-1 on the year. (So says the infallible PWAG system, anyway.)

Links

Orioles' Top 5 first basemen: Trezza’s take - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza ranks the top five first baseman in O’s history, and the No. 1 choice shouldn’t be any surprise. That's right, it’s Eddie Waitkus!

2012 was the year everything worked for the Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
The 2012 Orioles were an absolute delight, and I wish I could watch them all over again. Although at this point I’d watch the 2018 Orioles just to see some baseball.

Wondering who’s impacted by expansion to 29-man roster - School of Roch
If the season ever starts, teams will be allowed to carry 29 players instead of the usual 26. Had the O’s known that would happen, I wonder if they would have hung on to their two Rule 5 pitchers a while longer instead of sending them back.

How it might look in 2020: O's infield - Steve Melewski
Melewski projects which players will make up the Orioles’ Opening Day infield. Check back in in like four months to see if he was right!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your only O’s birthday buddy is the late lefty Dave Koslo (b. 1920, d. 1975), who pitched in three games for the inaugural 1954 Orioles.

On this day in 2005, the Orioles struck an agreement with MLB to allow Nationals games to be broadcast on MASN. And everything went just swimmingly after that!

The O’s have played six games on March 31 in their history, going 3-3. That includes the 2003 “Snow Game” opener (snowpener?), when Jay Gibbons lost a fly ball in a snow flurry that led to a Cleveland run, a contest eventually won by the Orioles in a 13-inning walkoff.