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Thursday Bird Droppings: Opening Day is one week away

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The Orioles season begins in one week. They still have some decisions to make about pitchers, including how many to carry.

Baltimore Orioles v Pittsburgh Pirates
Seagulls keeping Stevie Wilkerson company.
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now seven days remaining until the next scheduled Orioles game, which is Opening Day. One week from today, there will be real baseball! Unless there’s monsoon-like weather in Boston, where the Orioles open, in which case we’d get the disappointing Opening Day rainout, but that’s still better than the 2020 experience.

The Orioles played the Red Sox in a spring training game just last night. The offense did not show up, as has happened for a number of spring games, and the O’s lost, 2-0. The highlight for the O’s was Zac Lowther’s three scoreless innings in relief, including the inning he came into the game, where he inherited a bases loaded, nobody out jam and allowed no runs. Dean Kremer allowed two runs in 4.2 innings pitched, both scoring on the same barely fence-clearing homer hit by Hunter Renfroe.

It wasn’t a no-hitter, but it wasn’t far off from one, either. The O’s combined for just four hits and did not collect an extra-base hit in the game. This was something of a B-team lineup that became even more B-team when Ryan Mountcastle was scratched from the game between the first lineup being posted and the first pitch. The absence was not explained until after the game, when manager Brandon Hyde said this to reporters:

My default assumption since baseball started to get back under way last summer has been that weird, short-term absences that never get a concrete explanation from the team involve the COVID protocol in some way.

The phrasing “non-physical injury” sounds slightly different from the way Mike Elias and/or Hyde talked their way around COVID stuff last season, though. In addition, Hyde told reporters that he hopes Mountcastle is playing again tomorrow - which, if it was a question of potential COVID exposure, I feel like Mountcastle playing tomorrow would not be a possibility.

So, to fans it remains a mystery what is going on. Hopefully Hyde’s optimism about Mountcastle playing today comes to fruition and everything is OK with the Orioles rookie’s overall mental and physical health.

The Orioles will be back in action this evening with a 6:05 home game against the Pirates. This is the second of two MASN telecasts for the Grapefruit League season, and will also be carried on 105.7 in Baltimore.

Around the blogO’sphere

Orioles remain undecided on pitching numbers (School of Roch)
Will the Orioles have a six man rotation? Will they carry 14 pitchers on the 26-man roster? According to Hyde yesterday, these things still have not been decided.

Observations on Dean Kremer’s step forward, Zac Lowther’s big moment, and more (Baltimore Sun)
Before yesterday’s game, Hyde said he was looking for some better command from Kremer, which he sort of got and sort of didn’t. This was enough for Nathan Ruiz to talk about Kremer’s step forward anyway.

2131 Eutaw Street? Orioles best buddies Cedric Mullins and Austin Hays want a set address (The Athletic)
2131 is a number that’s got good mojo in Baltimore! If that mojo is enough to fuel both Mullins and Hays being MLB-caliber starting outfielders, that would be a fantastic development for the Orioles.

Top 10 farm systems by pitchers (MLB Pipeline)
The Orioles somehow had the #5 farm system overall by MLB Pipeline’s ranking last week. Even when only counting pitchers, Pipeline counts them as the #7 system. A lot of that is Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall.

Rule 5 pick Tyler Wells is trying to convince Orioles he’s worth keeping (Baltimore Baseball)
There have been enough other storylines through Orioles camp that the Rule 5 picks haven’t gotten much attention. I don’t think they will keep more than one of the picks. Maybe the one will be Wells.

MLB memo warns teams about crackdown on use of foreign substances on baseballs (ESPN)
Eight days before the season starts, MLB unveiled a potentially seismic change for the season to come - that is, if its effort to stop this kind of cheating is effective. As to whether Orioles pitchers will be hurt or Orioles batters will be helped, well, I guess that depends on who was cheating and if this gets them to stop.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There is exactly one former Oriole who was born on this day: 1966-67 utility player Woodie Held, who passed away in 2009 at age 77. It’s also the birthday of former Orioles manager Lee Mazzilli. He turns 66.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: early American naval officer John Barry (1745), composer Bela Bartok (1881), actor Ed Begley (1901), sports journalist Howard Cosell (1918), Apollo 13 astronaut Jim Lovell (1928), musician Aretha Franklin (1942), musician Elton John (1947), baseball Hall of Famer Tom Glavine (1966), and comedian Jenny Slate (1982).

On this day in history...

In 1584, Sir Walter Raleigh received the patent that allowed him to establish the colony of Virginia.

In 1802, France and the United Kingdom signed the Treaty of Amiens, marking an end to both the War of the Second Coalition and the French Revolutionary Wars with the recognition of the French Republic. The “definitive treaty of peace” lasted for about 14 months before the War of the Third Coalition - the start of the Napoleonic Wars - broke out.

In 1911, 146 workers in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City were killed in a fire. The company had locked doors to stairwells and exits to prevent unauthorized breaks. The last survivor of the fire passed away in 2001 at age 107.

In 1948, a forecast predicted that a tornado would strike Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma. A tornado did strike Tinker AFB that day, marking the first successful tornado forecast ever issued.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 25. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!