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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles’ good vibes went sour in a hurry

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The Orioles were riding high after a sweep of the Rays, but a lackluster performance against the Marlins last night brought them back to earth.

Miami Marlins v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Maybe it’s not time to unfurl the “Baltimore Orioles 2020 World Series Champions” banner just yet.

The O’s entered last night’s contest as one of the most pleasant surprises in baseball early on, carrying a 5-3 record and stunning the Rays over the weekend with a three-game sweep, the Birds’ first since 2018. They even had some national baseball writers penning, “Haha, wouldn’t it be hilarious if the O’s made the playoffs?” stories. Life was good.

But last night’s series opener against the Marlins was the type of performance that, frankly, most people expected to see from the 2020 Orioles all along. The O’s, facing a team that hadn’t played baseball in nine days and had to replace a whopping 17 players on its roster because of a COVID-19 outbreak, looked flat and lethargic. They stumbled on defense, with Renato Nunez committing a critical error at third base that scored a run. And the Orioles’ previously hot offense, with Jose Iglesias and Rio Ruiz sidelined by injuries, got shut out for the first time this year by Pablo Lopez (career 4.76 ERA) and a hastily cobbled-together Miami bullpen, including a perfect inning by ex-Oriole Richard Bleier in his Marlins debut.

Andrea SK’s recap has the full details of the sluggish O’s effort. They’ll never get to the postseason at this rate!

The Birds, at least, won’t have to spend much time ruminating on the loss. They’ll be back at it tonight with a pair of seven-inning games starting at 5:05. Here’s hoping the O’s rekindle the spark that highlighted their domination of the Rays.

Links

5 reasons the O’s (yes, the O’s) can do this - MLB.com
See, this is the kind of feel-good story I was referring to. Will Leitch is the latest to jump on the “Orioles could make the playoffs!” train. I’ll enjoy these types of articles for however long they last, since, let’s be honest, the O’s could come crashing down at any time.

Means masterful and bats muted in 4-0 loss - School of Roch
Among the individual highlights and lowlights of last night’s loss: Austin Hays snapped an 0-for-15 drought with a pair of hits, but DJ Stewart continued his 0-for-14, eight-strikeout rut to begin the year.

Seeing some individual player improvement during a 5-3 start - Steve Melewski
Shawn Armstrong is off to a good start, and he credits the Orioles’ analytics-heavy approach for his early success. It’s so nice to have a front office and coaching staff who know what they're doing.

Melanie Newman makes O’s radio history - Orioles.com
Best addition to the Orioles this year: Jose Iglesias, or Melanie Newman? I know which way I’d vote. Sorry, Jose.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two former Orioles right-handers were born on this day: John Wasdin, who turns 48, and the late Nelson Briles (b. 1943, d. 2005).

Aug. 5 has historically been a good day for Brooks Robinson. On consecutive years on this date, Brooks hit extra-inning home runs to lead the Orioles to victory. In 1968, he and Boog Powell went back-to-back in the 10th inning at Yankee Stadium for a 5-3 win, and in 1969 he smacked a walkoff two-run homer in the 10th to beat the Royals, 7-5.

On this day in 2010, the Orioles completed Buck Showalter’s first series as manager with a three-game sweep of the Angels, capped by a Cesar Izturis walkoff single in the finale.

On this date in 2012, the Orioles won their 11th consecutive extra-innings game, nipping the Rays, 1-0, in a 10-inning contest in Tampa. Taylor Teagarden, who had a surprising number of game-winning hits for a bad hitter, delivered the clutch RBI double to win it.

And on this day last year, Jonathan Villar hit for the cycle, becoming just the fifth Oriole ever to do so. Hopefully Villar doesn’t have an encore performance in store tonight, considering he’s playing against the Orioles.