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Monday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles won a baseball game!

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The Orioles socked four home runs in a 5-1 win over the Phillies, John Means probably won’t be ready for Opening Day, and more in today’s Bird Droppings.

Baltimore Orioles v Philadelphia Phillies
Home run celebration!
Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! I did something really crazy yesterday, something I hadn’t done in a long time: I watched an Orioles game. The Phillies hosted the O’s in an exhibition game, and I tuned in to see the guys in action. It was fun! I have been watching some KBO games here and there, but not knowing any of the players has made it hard to get into.

Last night’s game wasn’t without its drama. First Stevie Wilkerson, looking for a shot in the outfield with Dwight Smith Jr.’s start to the season delayed, made a sliding catch and injured his hand. Then Austin Hays was hit by a pitch in the knee and left the game. The really crappy part of that was that the Orioles had already made three outs but Phillies manager Joe Girardi asked to extend the inning to get his pitcher some work. Thanks a lot, Joe!

Postgame quotes from Brandon Hyde made it sounds like Hays is fine, thank goodness, but Wilkerson will be seeing a specialist today to see about his swollen hand.

This was supposed to be John Means’s last start before taking the ball on Opening Day, but he’s dealing with dead arm so Thomas Eshelman took his place. He wasn’t bad! It’s still up in the air if Means will be able to start on Opening Day, though I have a feeling he won’t be. Imagine Eshelman is the Opening Day pitcher? That would be sooo 2020.

Also, there is something interesting going on with Rio Ruiz’s hair. It might be a mullet. I’m not really sure. I didn’t get a peek at him without a helmet on, but I will be watching with interest!

Tonight and tomorrow the Orioles will play exhibition games against the Nationals. Tonight’s game is in Baltimore, tomorrow’s is in DC. Both games start at 6 p.m. and will air on MASN. It is so nice to have some baseball to talk about!

(I’m going to skip the part where I wonder IF baseball should be being played, ok? Just know that I know it’s a valid question.)

Links

Eshelman throws scoreless ball in win over Phillies - Steve Melewski
Melewski has the game recap for last night's win, with heavy emphasis on the success of Tom Eshelman. Pardon me if I don't get on the hype train.

Orioles set to begin exhibition play at Phillies; No Palmer, Thorne in 2020; Covid-19 sidelined Smith - BaltimoreBaseball.com
If you missed it over the weekend, MASN announced some changes to its broadcasting team for the 2020 season. Jim Palmer and Gary Thorne, both of whom reside in California and both of whom are of a certain age, will not be broadcasting in 2020. This is an effort to reduce risk and keep people safe.

Four unanswered questions as the Orioles begin exhibition games Sunday in Philadelphia - Baltimore Sun
Jon Meoli outlines the uncertainties going forward with the season looming. Although I think the last question, "Will Chris Davis be around when the season starts?" seems kind of silly to me.

Updating Means, exhibition pitchers and more - School of Roch
Brandon Hyde had a lot to say yesterday, but my main takeaway is that John Means isn't ready to pitch yet. This bums me out a little.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have plenty of Orioles birthday buddies. First, today is the 27th birthday of current Oriole Pedro Severino. Severino celebrated early last night by hitting a home run in the exhibition game.

Former Orioles celebrating today include Alexi Casilla (36), who appeared in 62 games for the 2013 team and in just one game in 2014; Jake Fox (38), who probably wishes his MLB legacy was something other than crushing the ball in spring training only to stink once the season starts; Charles Johnson (49), catcher for the 1999-2000 team; and Mark Lee (56), who pitched out of the bullpen for the O’s in 1995.

On this day in baseball history, courtesy of Baseball Reference:

  • In 1859, about 1500 people on Long Island paid 50 cents each to watch a baseball game between New York and Brooklyn, becoming the first people to pay to watch baseball. It’s weird to me that there is a way to pin that down, but B-R.com does not cite its source.
  • In 1965, Yankees pitcher Mel Stottlemyre hit an inside-the-park grand slam against the Red Sox. That’s a pretty incredible play even when the batter isn’t the pitcher.
  • In 1976, Hank Aaron hit the 755th and final home run of his career.
  • In 1993, Ben McDonald pitched a one hitter as the Orioles beat the Royals by a score of 7-0. 1993 was the best season of McDonald’s career as he made 34 starts with a 3.39 ERA and seven complete games.