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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles busted loose in Boston

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The Orioles shellacked the Red Sox in their series finale, which is giving us some conflicted feelings.

Baltimore Orioles v Boston Red Sox Photo by Kathryn Riley/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

In case you missed last night’s game, you missed one of the most all-around magnificent efforts from the Orioles in quite some time. The previously dormant offense came to life in explosive fashion at Fenway, pounding out 10 extra-base hits, their highest total of the season, and 13 runs, their second-highest. Every batter in the O’s lineup had a hit, but the bottom of the order in particular did major damage, with the No. 5 through 8 hitters — Austin Hays, Pat Valaika, Rio Ruiz, and Ramon Urias — collecting three hits apiece and combining for 11 runs and six RBIs. They supported an outstanding performance by Alex Cobb in his season finale, a seven-inning, one-run gem. Harrison Jozwiak recapped all the fun.

Ah, the Orioles bludgeoning the Red Sox is always a welcome sight. ...Or is it?

In these waning days of the season, inevitably there are O’s fans who will argue that the team has more to gain by losing games than by winning them. As Mark pointed out yesterday, the 2021 draft order will likely be determined by teams’ final records in 2020, and the Orioles are currently among a bevy of clubs jockeying for position at the top of the draft.

If my math is correct, the Orioles could end up with a pick anywhere from No. 3 to No. 12, depending on how this final weekend plays out for the Birds, as well as the Red Sox, Tigers, Royals, Angels, Mariners, Mets, Nationals, Rockies, and Diamondbacks. (As of now, only the Rangers and Pirates are guaranteed to finish with a worse record than the Orioles.)

That’s quite a range of potential outcomes. Holding the third pick is considerably more valuable than holding the 12th pick, or the 11th, or the 10th. So yes, I understand why some fans might be hoping the Birds get swept by the Blue Jays in their final series. The O’s have already been eliminated from postseason contention and have nothing left to play for except their pride.

Still, I don’t think I could ever be in the camp to actively root for the Orioles to lose. It seems to go against everything that being a fan should be. If they lose, they lose. I won’t shed any tears over it, and I’ll acknowledge the upside that comes with it. But come on — how can you look at a game like last night’s and say, “Ugh, I wish the Orioles hadn’t done that”?

I’m sticking with my first instinct: bludgeoning the Red Sox is always fun. But what say you?

Poll

What should O’s fans be rooting for in the final three games?

This poll is closed

  • 30%
    Lose them all and get the better draft pick. The standings don’t mean anything at this point.
    (99 votes)
  • 69%
    Screw that — let the Red Sox rot in the cellar. Just win, baby!
    (222 votes)
321 votes total Vote Now

Links

Sifting through candidates for Most Valuable Oriole - School of Roch
This is one of the toughest MVO votes in recent history, not just because of the shortened season but because nobody had a full, standout season. FWIW, Jose Iglesias is the Orioles’ current leader in FanGraphs WAR, while Baseball Reference has Anthony Santander, 0.1 ahead of Tanner Scott. I dunno, man. Who gets your vote?

Pat Valaika finishing strong even as team has not - Steve Melewski
The rest of the team has forgotten how to hit (last night notwithstanding), but Pat the Bat is still chugging along. Well, that settles it: Pat Valaika for Most Valuable Oriole!

O's option Kremer, recall Hess for depth - Orioles.com
O-hoho, you thought you wouldn’t be seeing David Hess again this year? Not so fast, my friend.

Baltimore Orioles: It is time to release Chris Davis - Birds Watcher
This is probably the 12,835th article on this subject, give or take, in the last two years. It’s not wrong, though.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have three Orioles birthday buddies, all of whom pitched for the Birds within the last 10 years: 2009-2011 right-hander Brad Bergesen (35), 2016 righty Vance Worley (33), and 2015-17 righty Tyler Wilson (31). The only one still playing professional baseball is Wilson, who is currently in his third season with the LG Twins of the KBO, posting a 9-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 22 starts.

On this day in 1965, the Orioles won both ends of a doubleheader in their final at-bat. In game one, Jerry Adair ripped a walkoff single in the ninth to beat the Angels, 2-1, and in the nightcap, a pair of O’s runs in the bottom of the eighth supported a Milt Pappas three-hit shutout.

In 1970, in a wild game in Cleveland, the Orioles blew a five-run lead in the bottom of the ninth, but eventually won anyway on a Terry Crowley two-run homer in the 13th inning.

On this date in 1983, the Orioles beat the Brewers to clinch the AL East, with Jim Dwyer and Joe Nolan socking home runs. The O’s, of course, went on to beat the White Sox in the ALCS and the Phillies in the World Series, sealing their third (and most recent) championship.

And on this day in 2014, the Orioles were on the wrong end of a storybook ending, as the retiring Derek Jeter hit a walkoff single in his final game at Yankee Stadium, setting the media into a full-blown celebration. The Oriole who gave up the historic hit, Evan Meek, never threw another pitch in the majors, yet there was no media frenzy about his departure from baseball. Double standard, folks!