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Wednesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are in the thick of the playoff race

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It’s mid September, the Orioles have outplayed their pre-season projections and now have their sights set on a playoff spot.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Mets Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

The Orioles 11-2 win over the Mets on Tuesday night (check out Paul’s recap) was important for a few reasons.

First, it moved the O’s to just half a game back for the final playoff spot in the American League. That spot is currently occupied by the division rival Yankees, who are in the midst of a downward spiral, having lost five games in a row. The two sides will meet back up this weekend for the final time in the regular season in what could prove to be a pivotal four-game series.

What’s also worth mentioning about the O’s most recent win is that it gave them 20 victories on the season. That total is significant because it guarantees them of a winning percentage that is at least as good as they had in 2019, and since there are 19 games left on the schedule, likely means they will eclipse that mark. Additionally, 20 wins was thought of as a reasonably over/under win total for these Orioles prior to the start of the season. Given where they sit now, it feels pretty good to go back and reason some of those prediction pieces, regardless of how reasonable they may have seemed at the time they were published.

Links & Notes

Notes: Davis activated; Fulmer joins ‘pen - Orioles.com
The fact that Chris Davis is back on this surprisingly competitive team is enraging, but unsurprising. The addition of Carson Fulmer, on the other hand, is intriguing. This guy was a top 10 pick in 2015, and he made it to the big leagues just a year later. The results haven’t been ideal, but he clearly has talent, and the Orioles now seem like an organization that can make the most of his abilities.

Hyde on how he’ll use Davis plus other notes - School of Roch
This is a tough position for Brandon Hyde to be put into. The manager’s main goal is to win games. Chris Davis does not help him do that. So, essentially what this does is force Hyde to play with a smaller roster than the rest of the league. That might have been fine if the Orioles were out of contention, but they aren’t.

9 factors that will decide the Wild Card races - MLB.com
The Orioles got mentioned in a postseason-focus article! It is really happening, folks.

Surprise! These Hitters Are Now Regulars - FanGraphs (RotoGraphs)
A couple of Orioles outfielders get mentioned as a fit for fantasy rosters in deep leagues. D.J. Stewart is about to win people some imaginary hardware.

Orioles birthday

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Pat Valaika turns 28 today. One of the Orioles current utility players has become an everyday starter in his first season with the club, and he has spent time at six different positions while doing so.

Longtime journeyman pitcher Edwin Jackson celebrates his 37th birthday. Across 17 MLB seasons, Jackson spent time with 14 different organizations, including three appearances for the 2017 O’s.

It’s the 37th birthday for Rhyne Hughes as well. The O’s acquired Hughes from the Rays in a 2009 trade that sent Greg Zaun to Tampa. Hughes would play in just 14 games for the Orioles, all of which came during the 2010 season.

Kurt Ainsworth, one of the players that Orioles added in a 2003 trade that landed Sidney Ponson in San Francisco, turns 42. Ainsworth would appear in just 10 games for the O’s, coming between 2003 and ‘04.

Corner infielder Todd Zeile is 55. He bounced between 11 clubs during his 16-season run in the majors. Of the 2,158 games he played, just 29 of them came with the 1996 Birds.

Finally, happy 59th birthday to Jim Corsi, a right-handed pitcher that got into 13 games for the 1999 Orioles.

Orioles history

1923 - The Orioles win via forfeit following a dispute between the umpires and Syracuse Stars manager Frank Shaughnessy. The fight sparked fans to rush the field, effectively ending the game and giving the O’s a victory.

2009 - Brian Roberts hits his 50th double of the season, becoming the fourth person in MLB history to hit 50 two-baggers three times in their career.