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Friday Bird Droppings: Where it’s starting to feel like a long season

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We’re just 12 games into a 60-game schedule, but already the Orioles’ season seems like it’s hit a wall. I mean, just look at the photo.

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

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Ugh. Is the Orioles’ season over yet? Seems like it’s been going on forever.

(Just kidding, gang! ...I think.)

Look, I’m as happy as anyone that we’re actually getting to watch Orioles baseball this year, considering the chaotic world events that made it seem like we’d never get to enjoy sports — or anything fun, really — anytime in the near future. During this stressful time, the fact that players were willing to put themselves at risk and forge ahead with a baseball season for our entertainment is a fantastic gesture, and one that everyone should appreciate. Assuming everyone can stay safe and healthy, I’d take a 2020 Orioles season over no Orioles season any day of the week.

That being said...the 2020 Orioles aren’t always the easiest team to watch.

Never has that been more true than the last three days, in which the O’s got roundly whooped by the Marlins, an already bad team that had to replace half its roster before the series began and yet promptly swept the Birds in four games. In the first three, the Orioles were doomed by their inability to hit; in the finale last night, the O’s finally got some offense — scoring seven runs, including four homers — but melted down in every other facet of the game. Starter Wade LeBlanc coughed up six runs and committed a balk so egregious that he was taken out of the game mid at-bat. The Orioles’ defense looked sloppy all game, especially during the Marlins’ go-ahead two-run rally in the seventh, in which Pat Valaika whiffed on a bouncer and left fielder Dwight Smith Jr. further muffed it to advance the eventual winning run to third base.

Check out Drew Bonifant’s recap for the full details of the back-and-forth, but ultimately fruitless, Orioles battle.

The Orioles’ feel-good sweep of the Rays last weekend feels like a distant memory. They’re now 5-7, trending very much in the wrong direction as they prepare to face the defending world champion Nationals this weekend.

But let me repeat: I’m so glad we have Orioles baseball! Even if this is the particular type of Orioles baseball we’re stuck with.

Links

Defensive shortcomings for O’s contribute to series sweep - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko recaps last night’s action and also checks in on David Hess, who hasn’t been seen since Opening Day. I’ll be honest: I hadn’t noticed.

O’s Castro showing better command in 2020 - Orioles.com
Hey, Miguel Castro’s been really good this year! Joe Trezza breaks out the Statcast data to tell us why.

Orioles’ Hyde tries to take pressure off DJ Stewart by sending him to Bowie - BaltimoreBaseball.com
With all due respect to DJ Stewart, if he can’t handle the “pressure” of playing an abbreviated season for a non-contending team in front of zero fans, things aren’t going to get any easier for him in the future.

Baltimore Orioles: Adding Melanie Newman Is Good for Baseball - Birds Watcher
Even if the Orioles’ win-loss record ends up as most expect it to, this season will be a success for the hiring of Newman alone. Kristen Bentley writes about the importance of female representation in the broadcast booth and baseball in general.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have a smorgasbord of Orioles birthday buddies, including one current Bird: lefty Wade LeBlanc turns 36. Last night he made his final start as a 35-year-old and, as mentioned, it did not go well. But next time he takes the mound, he’ll be a year older and wiser, so we’ve got that to look forward to. Among other Orioles to play in the last couple of decades, today is the birthday of righty Jason Grimsley (53), catcher Geronimo Gil (45), and catcher Ryan Lavarnway (33), who is still hopping around the majors and just played against the O’s with the Marlins this week.

Also born on this day are four late Orioles who suited up for the club in the 1950s: right-hander Bob Alexander (b. 1922, d. 1993), outfielder Tex Nelson (b. 1936, d. 2011), righty Art Houtteman (b. 1927, d. 2003), and World Series perfect-game thrower Don Larsen, who passed away on New Year’s Day this year at the age of 90.

On this day in 1993 in Baltimore, Indians pitcher Bob Ojeda made his first MLB appearance since recovering from an offseason boating accident that killed two of his teammates, Steve Olin and Tim Crews. The sellout crowd of 46,424 at Camden Yards gave Ojeda a standing ovation, for which he later wrote Baltimore fans an emotional thank-you letter.

On this date in 2012, the Orioles won their 12th straight extra-innings game, outlasting the Mariners in a 14-inning marathon at Camden Yards. The O’s, who trailed 7-3 in the seventh, tied the game on a J.J. Hardy homer, then won it seven innings later on an Adam Jones walkoff single.

And on this day last year, the Orioles had a total implosion, not only losing to the Yankees 14-2 to complete a sweep — giving up 16 homers in the three-game series, tying an MLB record — but also having an embarrassing dugout incident in which Chris Davis and Brandon Hyde nearly came to blows. The Baseball Reference blurb on the incident states of Davis, “it is possible his tenure with the team has come to an end.” Uh, yeah, about that...