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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles lost two for the price of one

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Another twin bill, another rough night for the Birds, who are now 1-7 in doubleheader games this season.

MLB: Game Two-Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

There are a lot of things about 2020 that we certainly won’t miss. And speaking strictly in a baseball sense, the O’s can probably think of something they could’ve done without this season: all the doubleheaders.

Seven innings, nine innings, it doesn’t matter. The O’s just can’t win the darn things. Last night, they played their fourth doubleheader of the season...and they were swept for the third time, this time by the Rays. Mark Brown recapped the opener, a last at-bat 3-1 loss, and Alex Church wrote up the nightcap, a sloppy, 10-6 defeat.

The doubleheader misery began back in early August, when the O’s were swept by a Marlins team that was missing two-thirds of its regular roster, with the Birds scoring a grand total of one run on the day. On Sept. 4, the O’s lost game one of a twin bill to the Yankees in frustrating fashion before rallying for a victory in game two. A week later at Yankee Stadium, the Orioles were again on the losing side of the sweep thanks to another offensive no-show. Now they’ve got another pair of losses to add to their ledger, kicking off a five-game series against the Rays in miserable fashion.

The good news is that the O’s aren’t scheduled for any more doubleheaders this year, barring any unexpected COVID-related developments in the season’s final 10 days. But at 22-29, and with eight losses in their past 10 games, the Orioles are limping toward the finish line.

Links

Orioles announcer Melanie Newman joins small club of female play-by-play voices: ‘It’s not just a one-person fight anymore’ — Baltimore Sun
One lament of this truncated season is that we haven’t gotten to hear enough of Newman’s play-by-play. Can they let her do some TV instead of exclusively radio? I never think to turn on the radio broadcast when I’m just at home 100% of the time.

Myriad O’s Thoughts: The Dan Duquette factor; 4-win milestone; spring schedule – The Athletic
Dan Connolly points out that many of the young players leading the surprisingly competent Orioles were acquired by former GM Dan Duquette. Good on DD for building a nice core, and good on Mike Elias for ramping up their development. Everyone gets a gold star!

Examining the Chris Davis situation - School of Roch
While some beat writers have opined that Davis’ Orioles career might be over, Roch Kubatko says not so fast to that, speculating that the O’s will hold onto him at least through the offseason in case there’s another truncated season next year that would suppress his salary. If that’s true, I mean...I’m not usually one to jump on the “Angeloses are cheap” train, but come on.

What would expanded playoffs in 2021 mean for O's, plus other notes - Steve Melewski
I don't care if it would increase the Orioles’ odds of contention — the expanded playoffs would be a blight on the sport if they’re a permanent addition. Having more than half the teams make the postseason, some of whom are likely to be .500 or below, makes the regular season a joke.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your lone O’s birthday buddy is the late lefty Harvey Haddix (b. 1925, d. 1994), who finished his 14-year MLB career with two years in Baltimore from 1964-65.

Among the Birds’ notable games on this date in history:

  • In 1976, Orioles legend Frank Robinson played his last game in the majors — and it came against the Orioles, as a player/manager with Cleveland. Robinson put himself into the game as a pinch-hitter in the eighth and delivered an RBI single, the 2,943rd and final hit of his career. The Birds still won, 3-2.
  • Exactly one year later, Baltimore celebrated a fellow Orioles legend, Brooks Robinson, on “Thanks, Brooks” day at Memorial Stadium a month after his retirement. In an hour-long pregame ceremony, Robinson was gifted with a new car, a Hawaiian vacation, and, of course, third base itself.
  • In 1983, the O’s played an utterly ridiculous game, falling behind the Brewers 7-0, roaring back to score six runs in the eighth and take a 9-7 lead, blowing that lead in the top of the ninth, and then winning anyway on a John Stefero walkoff single. Hall of Famer Jim Palmer failed to get out of the second inning, giving up seven runs.
  • In 1991, Cal Ripken became the first shortstop ever to hit 30 home runs and 40 doubles in a season, blasting his 30th homer in a 7-5 loss to the Red Sox at Fenway.
  • In 2003, the O’s and Yankees finished in a 1-1 tie in five innings in Baltimore, with the rest of the game rained out by the approaching Hurricane Isabel. Yankees owner George Steinbrenner called it “stupidity at its worst” that the game ever started. The O’s haven’t had a game end in a tie in the 17 years since.
  • And in 2012, the Orioles won their 14th consecutive extra-innings game, and this was the longest of the bunch: an 18-inning marathon in Seattle. The O’s, who trailed 2-0 in the ninth, tied the game with a pair of runs and then finally broke the tie nine innings later, thanks to a Taylor Teagarden RBI single.