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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are playing fun, weird baseball

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The 2020 MLB season is only a couple of weeks old, but the O’s have already made it pretty enjoyable.

Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

This Orioles team is an amoeba. On paper, they should be bad, very bad. And there are days that they confirm this, by losing four straight games to a roster that is a combination of minor leaguers, random free agents, and a handful of guys that spent the last week lounging in a Philadelphia hotel. But then show that they are also capable of sweeping a good team, like the Rays, or blowing out the defending World Series champion Nationals 11-0. It just makes no sense.

But really, that is the magic of baseball. Even the league’s best clubs can lose to the runts. It’s also what is making for a wild abbreviated season thus far.

Take a look at the standings. With 13 games gone, the O’s have played more than a fifth of their season. They sit just a game back of the wild card and have a positive run difference. Of course, they also only have three more wins than the league-worst Pittsburgh Pirates. So, this thing could still go either way.

Even if the Orioles do slide down the standings as expected, they have already proven themselves better than many people expected. The wins haven’t been as hard to come by, and it is not difficult to find things that are fun about this team. Bottom line, it has been an enjoyable, weird couple of weeks.

Links

Iglesias continues tear as Orioles rout Nats - Orioles.com
The O’s signing of Jose Iglesias was roundly applauded at the time. He was a veteran, defensively adept shortstop that would stabilize the infield and provide the shaky pitching staff with a safety net of sorts. Anything he did at the plate was a bonus, but boy has it been some kind of bonus so far. Iglesias has no home runs just yet, but the guy is a doubles machine, tied for the MLB lead with seven despite missing three of the Orioles games with a quad injury. Will it last? Unlikely. But it sure is fun right now.

The Orioles’ latest advice to struggling Chris Davis? Just get in there and swing. - Baltimore Sun
What can you really say to a veteran hitter that is clearly over the hill? All manager Brandon Hyde can really do is continue to hide Chris Davis until the front office has decided they have seen enough. For what it’s worth, Davis did register two hits on Friday, and three hits over the last two games, so it has been better.

Alternate camp allowing developmental process to proceed - School of Roch
This season is weird, especially for minor leaguers. But it terms of how it will or will not stunt development, at least every single franchise is experiencing the same exact thing. Ryan Mountcastle should still be with the big league team though.

Orioles Add Two To 60-Man Player Pool - MLB Trade Rumors
Left-handed pitcher Brian Gonzalez and infielder Gunnar Henderson (2019 draftee) have joined the 60-man pool, leaving one spot open. Both additions make sense. Gonzalez had a nice season in Double-A Bowie, and could be close to a big league call. Henderson is young (19 years old), but he is arguably the Orioles top infield prospect. Who will be the final addition? Perhaps no one as the O’s look to maintain roster flexibility for the time being.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday this weekend? Happy birthday!

Former pitcher Eddy Rodriguez turns 39 today. The right-hander appeared in 38 games for the O’s between 2004 and 2006. Altogether he had a 5.40 ERA and struck out 48 batters in 58.1 innings of work.

It is the birthday of the late Johnny Temple (b. 1927, d. 1994). The second baseman spent most of his 13-season career with the Cincinnati Reds, but played in 78 games for the 1962 Orioles. During his time in Baltimore, Temple slashed .263/.352/.311 before being purchased by the Houston Colt .45s that August.

Finally, happy posthumous birthday to Marlin Stuart (b. 1918, d. 1994). The right-handed pitcher was a member of the original 1954 Orioles, and he pitched in 22 games for them before the Yankees selected him off of waivers in July of that year.

This day in history

1896 - The Orioles and the Washington Sentators establish a major league record by combining for 37 singles in a nine-inning game. The O’s beat the Sens 21-16.