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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles have suddenly hit the skids

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After dropping both games in Friday’s double-header, the O’s are running out of room for error.

MLB: Game Two-Baltimore Orioles at New York Yankees Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

The Orioles next two games are not literally “must win.” But a pair of victories sure would be helpful. Entering play on Saturday, the O’s are 3.5 games back of the Yankees for the final playoff spot in the American League. It they fall to 5.5 games back with a week of games against the Braves and Rays coming up, it’s tough to see a path to the postseason.

But we have good news! Dean Kremer is going to pitch today. He was terrific in his big league debut, which came against these very same Yankees. A repeat performance (six innings, one hit, one run, three walks, seven strikeouts) would be neat.

An improved showing from the O’s offense is going to be needed as well if they have any shot down the stretch. Gerrit Cole and Masahiro Tanaka held the Baltimore bats to just one run in Friday’s doubleheader. If Jordan Montgomery and his 5.72 ERA does the same on Saturday, alarm bells may start to ring.

Links

O’s getting big boost from ‘15 Draft class - Orioles.com
In a perfect world, some of the Orioles picks from the 2015 class would have made a significant impact in Baltimore sooner than 2020. But it’s better to arrive late rather than not at all.

Orioles Designate Mason Williams For Assignment - MLB Trade Rumors
The life of a fringey major league is a tough one. This will be the second time that Mason Williams has been DFA’ed by the Orioles this month. With Austin Hays nearing a return and Cedric Mullins turning into one of the team’s more productive hitters, Williams may not get another shot with the O’s this season.

Expected Home Run Rate, 2020 Edition - FanGraphs
This isn’t Orioles-specific, but it’s always interesting to learn a little bit more about peripheral baseball statistics.

Ranking the 9 clubs chasing a playoff spot - MLB.com
You already know that the Orioles aren’t ranked high on this list. That’s OK. This team wasn’t supposed to be good. This is all gravy. No matter how it ends up, this season has been fun and makes me more excited for 2021 than I was expecting to be.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday this weekend? Happy birthday!

Former outfielder Keith Hughes turns 57. He played in 41 games for the 1988 Orioles, batting .194/.294/.324 with two home runs while with the club.

Mark Thurmond, a left-handed pitcher, celebrates his 64th. He spent the 1988 and ‘89 seasons with the O’s, accumulating a 4.21 ERA in 164.2 innings spread over 92 appearances.

Finally, happy 86th to Albie Pearson, an O’s outfielder from 1959-60. Pearson played in 128 games for the club and posted a 73 OPS+.

This day in history

1964 - The Orioles beat the Athletics 1-0 in a game where each team only registered one hit. It was the fifth time in MLB history that two pitchers threw one-hitters in the same game. O’s hurler Frank Bertaina just edged out A’s starter Bob Meyer for the win.

1988 - Eddie Murray collects his 2,000th career hit, but the O’s lose 6-1 to the Red Sox.

2009 - Brian Roberts sets an Orioles record by hitting his 51st double of the season. He also smacked a grand slam and leads the O’s to a 7-3 win over the Yankees.

2014 - Orioles slugger Chris Davis is handed a 25-game suspension for amphetamine use on the same day that the O’s sweep a double-header from the Yankees and inch close to the AL East crown.