Good morning, Camden Chatters.
A week ago in this space, as the O’s departed for a seven-game road trip against the Rays and Blue Jays, I mused that the trek could make or break the Orioles’ season. Would they beat the teams ahead of them in the standings to remain in contention, or stumble so badly that they’d fall completely out of the postseason picture?
Well, the Birds answered that question. Decisively so.
To the 15 of you who predicted in the poll that the O’s would win 0 or 1 games on the trip, your pessimism was well-founded. The Birds crumbled, losing the first five games — a few in heartbreaking fashion — before salvaging a 4-3 victory yesterday afternoon that you can read all about in my recap. The highlight of the trip was the game they didn’t play, postponing Thursday’s game in Tampa in solidarity with victims of racial and social injustice.
The Orioles are now 15-19, 3.5 games back of the Blue Jays for the final wild card slot and fading fast. The Birds’ woeful road trip coincided with the MLB trade deadline, in which Mike Elias dealt away starter Tommy Milone and relievers Mychal Givens and Miguel Castro for prospects, which certainly seems to be the right move for the long term but will make the 2020 season even more difficult for the Birds.
As the calendar flips to September, the O’s now return to Baltimore for an interleague matchup against the Mets, who are a game worse than the Orioles — 15-20 — but were buyers at the deadline. New York added Todd Frazier, Robinson Chirinos, and, of course, Castro, who may well make his Mets debut against the team that just traded him. The National League playoff picture is much more fluid than the AL, as teams that are merely hovering around .500 have a good shot of making the postseason, so the Mets are a team with something to play for.
The Orioles aren’t. For the final month of the 2020 season, their focus will be on evaluating the in-house options to figure out who might be a contributor to a future contending O’s team. Perhaps we’ll get a few more big league debuts to enjoy, like Dean Kremer or even Yusniel Diaz. The postseason isn’t in the cards, but we’d just like the Birds to provide us some entertainment — and, above all, stay healthy.
Orioles avoid four-game sweep with 4-3 win in 11 innings (updated) - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko has more details on yesterday’s game, including Brandon Hyde’s gushing praise for Jose Iglesias’ game-ending play. It really was a gem.
A closer look at Keegan Akin’s start, plus a trade note - Steve Melewski
Melewski digs deeper into Akin’s performance in his first MLB start, finding, among other things, that he got nine swings and misses. Not too shabby, rook.
Elias is following blueprint in rebuilding Orioles’ talent - BaltimoreBaseball.com
As Rich Dubroff writes, Mike Elias has a plan for restocking the farm system and he’s sticking to it, even when it means trading away players that fans have come to like. It’s the right strategy, of course. Just don’t listen to Facebook commenters.
While trade talk continues, here’s a deeper look at O’s return for Mychal Givens – The Athletic
Dan Connolly takes a closer look at the two prospects the O’s acquired from the Rockies. I’d forgotten that the Orioles almost traded Sidney Ponson for Tyler Nevin’s dad, Phil, in 2005. Without even looking up how Phil Nevin did that year, I say that trade would've been a clear win for the Birds.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Just one Oriole was born on this day: the late lefty Dean Stone (b. 1930, d. 2018), who finished his eight-year MLB career by pitching 17 games for the Birds in 1963.
The Orioles usually don’t win on this date in history, going 24-34 all time on Sept. 1, including 18 losses in their last 23 games. Among their few wins in that span was a 1-0, 13-inning shutout of the Blue Jays in 2017. Kevin Gausman and four relievers blanked the Jays and Jonathan Schoop’s walkoff RBI double ended it in extras.
On this day in 1961, Paul Richards resigned as Orioles manager and GM to run the expansion Houston Colt .45s. Richards had been in charge of the Birds since 1955, helping lay the groundwork for the Orioles dynasty that was to come.
On this date in 2000, the Orioles turned a triple play in Cleveland, the first one in the seven-year history of Jacobs Field. With runners at first and second in the second inning, shortstop Melvin Mora let a Sandy Alomar pop-up to shallow left fall in safely after noticing the infield fly rule hadn’t been called. As the runners remained glued to their bases in confusion, the O’s forced them out one at a time, with Alomar called out for heading back to the dugout. (The Birds pulled off an identical play in Boston in May 2017.)
And on this day in 2007, the Orioles were no-hit by the Red Sox’ Clay Buchholz in his second major league start. Buchholz was the first MLB pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his second career start since Wilson Alvarez of the White Sox against...guess who?...the Orioles in 1991.