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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles offense has suddenly vanished

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The Orioles bats have not shown up in the series so far against the Marlins. One game remains to avoid a sweep.

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

Hello, friends.

Yesterday saw the Orioles participate in just the seventh MLB doubleheader since 1903 where the home team and road team switched roles between games while remaining in the same stadium. The sixth began a mere hour before the O’s-Marlins doubleheader, as the Yankees-Phillies games, also impacted by pandemic rescheduling, had the home/away switch as well.

It was not a good day for the O’s. Though they only gave up a combined six runs across both games, they were swept in the doubleheader. That’s because they only managed to score one run between both games.

Combined with being shut out on Tuesday, they were on the verge of being shut out in three straight games before they managed to scratch out a run in the sixth inning of the second game. Being shut out three games in a row had not happened to the Orioles since a Boston series in September of 2015.

The offense is suddenly bad, and what’s more, it’s gone completely to sleep against a Marlins pitching staff that consists either of pitchers who had an unexpected week off due to pandemic isolation or pitchers who were unexpectedly summoned to the Marlins because of 18 players testing positive for COVID-19.

This is an environment in which they ought to have been primed to feast. Perhaps after that 5-3 start you even started to count some chickens before the eggs hatched and dreamed a little bit about what it might look like if the Orioles, say, dispatched the Marlins in three out of these four games. That would have meant they’d be 8-4 and then who knows?

Now, in reality, the Orioles have got to stave off a four-game sweep to get themselves back to .500, with the Nationals looming this weekend. It’s not great! It’s not like the O’s offense has been afflicted by bad luck, either. MLB’s Statcast uses launch angle and exit velocity to give an expected batting average (xBA) of each batted ball. In the three games of this series, the O’s have had an xBA of .176, .150, and .193.

Today at noon is a deadline where MLB teams must trim their rosters from 30 to 28 active players. The Orioles have already taken care of this with two moves yesterday. John Means was placed on the bereavement list, and following the doubleheader, 0-for-the season outfielder DJ Stewart was optioned to the alternate training site.

The finale against the Marlins starts at 7:35 Eastern tonight. The Orioles will once again be treated as the road team, though the game takes place at Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere

Alex Cobb’s splitter shines, but Marlins shut out Orioles (Baltimore Sun)
One positive yesterday is that Alex Cobb pitched well again. He’s feeling different this season, and so far that’s been a good thing.

Hyde on Means, Eshelman, and weekend starts (School of Roch)
Means is questionable to be able to make Sunday’s start. Thomas Eshelman is a possibility for starting Saturday’s game. That’s not the best rotation news update.

Melanie Newman makes history calling Orioles on radio (Orioles.com)
This history was made on Tuesday and has not stopped being cool. Hopefully there’s history on Orioles television coming soon.

Richard Bleier on Baltimore: “The city was great, the organization was great” (Press Box Online)
This trade remains weird, but now Bleier finds himself on the 5-1 Marlins, so it could end up being a plus for him.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

In 1986, the Orioles lost a 13-11 game to the Rangers in which the teams combined for three grand slams. This set a new MLB record for grand slams in a game.

There are a handful of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2007 pitcher Victor Zambrano, 1974 reserve outfielder Mike Reinbach, 1967-71 pitcher Jim Hardin, and 1966 four-game catcher Camilo Carreon.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: mathematician Johann Bernoulli (1667), poet Alfred, Lord Tennyson (1809), actress Lucille Ball (1911), movie man M. Night Shyamalan (1970), author Paolo Bacigalupi (1972), Spice Girl Geri Halliwell (1972), and actress Soleil Moon Frye (1976).

On this day in history...

In 1870, the French were defeated in both the Battle of Spicheren and the Battle of Worth. These Prussian victories and the Prussian triumph in the Franco-Prussian War paved the way for the unification of Germany.

In 1945, the US bomber Enola Gay dropped an atomic bomb called “Little Boy” on Hiroshima, Japan.

In 1965, President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 6. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!