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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Even when the Orioles lose, Anthony Santander keeps winning

The Birds dropped their third in a row, but their right fielder’s bat stayed hot.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Well, losing three games in a row is never fun, and the way in which the Orioles lost on Tuesday night made it even less so. But that doesn’t mean the game was without its enjoyable nuggets.

The offense was, once again, impressive. They smacked three home runs, including two off the bat of Anthony Santander. It was the right fielder’s second two-home run performance of the week, and the week isn’t even half over yet! The guy is turning into a star right before our eyes.

Santander’s current level of production, in all likelihood, is unsustainable. His fly balls are turning into home runs nearly a quarter of time, which is crazy high. Not to mention, his current 170 wRC+ is usually reserved for Mike Trout and no one else.

But honestly, who really cares. the 25-year-old has clearly figured something out heading into this season. His entire approach has changed. He is aggressive with pitches all over the zone. He is attacking pitchers and hitting way more line drives than ever before. It’s wonderful, and we should enjoy every single second of it.

Links & Notes

It’s Time To Talk About the Orioles - FanGraphs
Despite the team’s recent three-game slide, the Orioles are exceeding expectations, especially on offense. The point made in this blog, and elsewhere, is that the team is largely doing it with the same crew that struggled in 2019. The only “big” additions have been Jose Iglesias and Pat Valaika. Are the improvements real? Are they catching lightning in a bottle? Who knows, but it sure is fun.

Orioles Place Jose Iglesias On 10-Day Injured List - MLB Trade Rumors
In case you missed it, Iglesias was officially put on the IL prior to Tuesday night’s game. This is a bummer, but something that needed to happen. Iglesias has had a noticeable limp since the season started, and it has only gotten worse. Hopefully a few days off of it completely will lead to a fully recovery. As odd as it may sound, the Orioles do need Iglesias’s bat in the lineup, not to mention his steadying influence on the defense.

Hyde on Alberto, Iglesias, Urías, Davis and Harvey - School of Roch
Some quotes from the skipper. Who doesn’t love skipper quotes?

Santander’s hit streak at 13: ‘He’s just on fire’ -
The man is a hitting machine. He has altered his approach this season, swinging early and getting more loft when he does swing. It’s a thing of beauty, and it has made the O’s offense into a serious threat.

Orioles birthday

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

A ton of former Orioles were born on this day, but the most noteworthy is shortstop J.J. Hardy. The three-time Gold Glove award winner played for the O’s from 2011 through 2017 and became one of the core pieces on each of three playoff teams during that era. Hardy turns 38 today.

Also celebrating today are 2008 reliever Lance Cormier (40 years old), 2007-08 reliever Rochy Cherry (41), 1987 pitcher Luis DeLeon (62), and 1975 hurler Paul Mitchell (71).

Two late former Birds were also born on this day. Jim Lehew (b. 1937, d. 2016) was an Orioles pitcher from 1961-62, and Jim Finigan (b. 1928, d. 1981) played multiple infield positions for the 1959 O’s.

Orioles history

1980 - O’s pitcher Steve Stone wins his 20th decision of the season, becoming the first MLB pitcher to reach that milestone this season.

2016 - The Orioles set a modern record by hitting four home runs before making an out in the first inning. Adam Jones homers on the first pitch in the O’s half of the inning. Then, after a Hyun Soo Kim single, Manny Machado, Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo hit back-to-back-to-back dongs. Despite this, the Birds lose 15-8 to the visiting Houston Astros.