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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles found their bats again

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The Orioles scored 14 runs against the Braves last night, 11 more than they did in their entire four-game series in New York.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Baltimore Orioles
Pictured: DJ “Dingerin’ Jesus” Stewart
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

OK, so maybe these Orioles do still know how to hit after all?

After a total offensive blackout in their four-game series in the Bronx, the O’s rediscovered their bats in a big way last night, punishing Braves pitchers for 14 runs, including a nine-run third inning. The onslaught included home runs by Ryan Mountcastle, Jose Iglesias, Pat Valaika, and of course, DJ “Dingerin’ Jesus” Stewart. (Let’s get that nickname trending!) Iglesias tied a career best with a four-hit game, while Mountcastle, Stewart, Cedric Mullins, and fresh-off-the-IL Austin Hays each had multi-hit games as well. Check out Ben Hansford’s recap to relive all the fun.

It’s ironic that the Birds did it against the Braves, a team that’s accustomed to being on the giving rather than receiving end of offensive outbursts. The Braves lead the majors in runs scored and have, themselves, scored 10 runs in an inning on two occasions this year, including during a historic 29-9 win against Miami last week.

It’s always nice to see a good, old-fashioned fireworks display at the plate for the Birds. One can’t help but wonder, though...where were all these runs at Yankee Stadium over the weekend? In their single most important series of the year, the Orioles’ offense went completely silent, scoring a total of three runs, and all but knocking themselves out of playoff contention. Even after the Birds’ decisive win last night, they’re still five games back of a postseason berth with just 13 left to play. If only they could’ve found their offense a few days earlier, we might be having a very different discussion right now.

Alas, there’s no point in grousing about it now. Playoffs or not, the 2020 season has already been a success for the Orioles, as our Tyler Young wrote yesterday. And if the Orioles keep up the kind of hot hitting we saw last night, O’s fans are in for even more of a treat during these final two weeks.

Links

Davis back on injured list, Wilkerson released and other notes - School of Roch
Among the Orioles’ flurry of roster moves yesterday, Chris Davis is “injured” again, after playing just one game since he was last activated from the IL. That probably does it for him in 2020. And sad news for Stevie Wilkerson fans: Dr. Poo Poo is an Oriole no more.

Orioles’ talent base is better than a year ago, but questions remain - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Hopefully this time next year, the first part of that headline will still be true, but the second won’t. I want an even more talented team with no questions whatsoever!

Valdez baffling hitters with ‘the dead fish’ - Orioles.com
I’m sorry, how can you not love a soft-tossing, 35-year-old journeyman who’s dominating everyone with a pitch called “the dead fish”? May you stay an Oriole forever, Cesar Valdez.

Tanner Scott looks to bounce back, get strong year rolling again - Steve Melewski
For a player who’s having a breakout season, I feel like we hardly ever hear from Tanner Scott. Here are a few not-that-exciting quotes from him, if you’re interested.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You share your day with two former Orioles right-handers: John Pacella (64), who pitched six games in 1984, and Dave Pagan (71), who was part of that massive 10-player trade with the Yankees in 1976 that also netted Rick Dempsey, Scott McGregor, and Tippy Martinez. Pagan pitched to a 5.98 ERA in 20 games with the Birds.

If Orioles history is any indication, there’s a decent chance for some last at-bat dramatics in tonight’s game. Of the 58 games the O’s have played on this date, 11 have ended on a walkoff — six by the Orioles, five by their opponents. That includes their first-ever Sept. 15 game, in their inaugural season of 1954, when Jim Fridley’s RBI single walked off the Red Sox. The most recent was in 2015, when Chris Davis singled in the 13th to beat the Red Sox again. On the flip side was a brutal stretch in 1961-62 when the O’s lost three extra-inning walkoffs on this date, including both ends of a 1962 doubleheader against the Kansas City Athletics.

Among other notable games on this date in O’s history:

  • In 1966, Baltimore native Tom Phoebus made his major league debut...and pitched a complete game shutout against the Angels, striking out eight. Welcome to the majors, rook!
  • In 1977, the Orioles forfeited a game to the Blue Jays after Earl Weaver pulled his team off the field in the fifth inning because umpires refused his request to remove a tarp on the bullpen pitching mound. “I can’t afford to tell my players not to go after a foul ball in that area,” Weaver said. “If a guy slips out there and hurts his leg, how am I going to feel?”
  • In 1990, brothers Cal Jr. and Billy Ripken homered in the same game for the first time in their careers, with each going deep in the fifth inning off Blue Jays starter David Wells (who would later become their O’s teammate in 1996). The Orioles, though, lost the game on — what else? — a walkoff, with the Jays scoring three in the ninth for a 4-3 victory.
  • In 1996, the O’s set an MLB record at the time by hitting their 241st home run of the season. They eventually finished with 257, a record that has since been eclipsed by seven teams, including four just last season. (The 2019 Twins now hold the record with 307.)
  • And in 1997, the wire-to-wire Orioles officially clinched a playoff spot on the same day they welcomed back Eric Davis, who had a cancerous tumor removed from his colon just three months earlier. The Camden Yards crowd of 41,602 gave Davis a minute-long standing ovation before his first at-bat. He went 0-for-3 in the Orioles’ 6-5 win.