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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles season is now halfway over

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The Orioles are 14-16 at the halfway point of the season and the trade deadline is four days away.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There have been more than a few days in 2020 where sports were not the most important thing that could be going on. No professional league or amateur sport could ignore COVID-19. No one should ignore it to this day, though some are trying. On Wednesday, some sports were halted again as teams chose not to play in protest of continuing police brutality. This included some baseball games, though not the Orioles. They played and lost.

I run a little baseball blog. Even if I knew what was The Answer to the problems that led to these latest protests, my saying them here would be a drop in the ocean. I don’t have The Answer, anyway. Before I get on with talking about the Orioles, I just want to say this: I think all of the players who took action yesterday did a brave thing, and I respect them. If they choose to do more today and onward, I respect them for that too.

After last night’s game, Cedric Mullins talked to reporters:

The Orioles fought their way back to .500 in the Red Sox series and now they’re back two games below. They lost to the Rays last night, 4-3, after Mychal Givens gave up a solo home run in the bottom of the eighth inning. Pat Valaika’s defensive issues at shortstop continued. Check out Alex Church’s recap of the game for the not-so-lovely totals.

The loss leaves the Orioles at 14-16 at the season’s halfway point. This is much less exciting than when they were 12-8 a third of the way through the season. With the trade deadline just four days away, the O’s front office will have to decide which way they want to go with players who are getting interest from other teams. They sit only a game and a half out of the #8 seed in the American League.

It seems highly unlikely that the O’s will part with a prospect in order to add to this team. The question is whether they will try to let it ride with who they’ve got to chase what they can chase, or whether they will subtract from the roster to try to add a future piece. A best-of-three date with the team that has the best record in the AL would be more fun than being as bad as the Red Sox, but it’s probably not worth very much.

The series against the Rays is scheduled to conclude at 6:40 Eastern tonight, with the O’s needing a win to avoid being swept. John Means and Ryan Yarbrough are the expected starting pitchers.

Around the blogO’sphere

Akin likely to stay in bullpen (and other notes) (School of Roch)
There’s a hole in the starting rotation, but it’s not Keegan Akin who will be stepping into it initially.

Early returns for rookie Ryan Mountcastle showing work on plate approach has paid off (Baltimore Sun)
After two more hits last night, Mountcastle is batting .375 very early on in his MLB career.

A dynamite O’s relief arm could be back soon (Orioles.com)
The headline refers to Hunter Harvey, about whom I hope we’re not getting ahead of ourselves in assuming a certain level of performance.

Broadcaster Melanie Newman talks about her first season (Baltimore Baseball)
Melanie Newman made O’s radio history with her first broadcast this year and she never sounds like anything other than a thoughtful, hard worker.

A look at the player leadership group on the O’s farm (Steve Melewski)
Not much of a surprise that Adley Rutschman is among the leaders of players at the alternate training site. The others are not as much household names in Birdland - yet.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1970, Mike Cuellar picked up his 20th win of the season as the Orioles beat the Athletics, 6-4. He was one of three 20-game winners on the O’s staff that year. The famed four 20-game winners, also including Cuellar, was the next year.

One lone former Oriole has a birthday today. Happy 50th birthday to 2012 late-season addition Jim Thome. He may want to wait until a later date to collect on some hearty handshakes.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: early Maryland leader Charles Calvert (1637), novelist Theodore Dreiser (1871), novelist C.S. Forester (1899), 36th president Lyndon B. Johnson (1908), and rapper Mase (1975).

On this day in history...

In 410, a three-day sacking of Rome by the Visigoths of King Alaric came to an end. The Western Roman Empire lasted until 476, with this sacking regarded as an important development in the eventual fall.

In 1776, Americans under George Washington were defeated by Howe’s British in the Battle of Long Island. The Maryland regiment distinguished itself in a rear guard action enabling retreat, in which more than two-thirds of its men were killed and all but less than a dozen of the rest were captured.

In 1883, the first of a series of eruptions that destroyed Krakatoa took place, leading to years of global climate change.

In 1979, British royal relative Lord Mountbatten was assassinated when an IRA bomb blew up on his boat, killing him and three others.

In 2011, Hurricane Irene rolled up the East Coast, leading to 47 deaths and more than $15 billion in estimated property damage.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 27. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!