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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles offense might get a shot in the arm today

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Valaika optioned, Stewart back amid sky-high strikeout totals and drama in the Camden Yards PA booth.

Baltimore Orioles v Philadelphia Phillies Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

The Orioles offense is scuffling a bit. They are tied for 17th in MLB with 27 runs scored, but that is buoyed by an 11-run game in Boston last weekend. Their 91 strikeouts are tops in baseball while they are in the bottom five for home runs hit, along with two teams that have played in three fewer games.

On Friday afternoon, the team announced that Pat Valaika was being optioned to the alternate site while no corresponding move was made official just yet. Speculation from beat reporters is that D.J. Stewart will be activated sometime today to take Valaika’s 26-man spot.

Stewart could be just the shot in the arm that the lineup needs. Yes, he struck out a ton in 2020, but he also left the ballpark with regularity. A third of fly balls hit by Stewart last summer turned into home runs. He also posted an impressive .809 OPS considering he had just a .193 batting average.

It will take more than one decent hitter to get the Orioles offense back on track, but every little bit helps. In the end, however, the weight of run production will fall to the trio of Anthony Santander, Trey Mancini, and Ryan Mouncastle. As they go, so does the O’s offense.

Links

Orioles option Valaika to alternate site; Expected to activate Stewart | BaltimoreBaseball.com
This specific move is a tad surprising. Pat Valaika was one of the Orioles better hitters last year, finishing fifth on the team with a 114 OPS+. But he is lacking an obvious position and currently in a slump with the rest of the lineup. Valaika will be back at some point as the situation at second base appears fluid.

In Orioles’ first week of season, strikeout issues are unprecedented | The Baltimore Sun
This is going to be a problem. The Orioles are not built the same way that they were in 2016, when they hit loads of home runs. This version of the O’s is not going to challenge for the league lead in long balls. That makes the sky-high strikeout numbers a big problem.

Orioles dismiss public address announcer Ryan Wagner hours before home opener | The Athletic
It did seem odd that the Orioles PA duties at Camden Yards were handled by Bowie Baysox announcer Adrienne Roberson on Opening Day rather than the familiar voice of Ryan Wagner. Now we know why...well, sort of.

Sweeping the Sox and striking out a bunch (Ep. 63) | The Warehouse Podcast
This is a few days old at this point, but it’s never too late to find a new Orioles podcast to subscribe to, right?

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Chris Dickerson turns 39 today. The outfielder appeared in 56 games for the 2013 O’s, often serving as a pinch runner and defensive replacement.
  • Alberto Reyes celebrates his 51st birthday. The pitcher tossed 42.2 total innings with the Orioles between 1999 and 2000.
  • Former Orioles centerfielder Mike Devereaux is 58 years old today. He patrolled the Baltimore outfielder from 1989 through 1994, and then again in 1996. Across 878 games, Devereaux hit .251/.307/.404 as an Oriole.
  • Happy 73rd birthday to Lee Lacy. The outfielder wrapped up his 16-season MLB career with a three-year stint in Baltimore from 1985 through 1987.
  • Wes Stock is 87. The right-handed pitcher started his career with a six-season run in Baltimore, accumulating a 3.67 ERA over 279.2 innings.

This day in history

Not much has happened in Birdland on this day, according to Baseball Reference. So, here are a few events that have occurred elsewhere on April 10:

1912 - RMS Titantic sets sail from Southampton, England on her maiden voyage.

1925 - F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby is first published.

1970 - Paul McCartney announces that he is leaving The Beatles.

1991 - The tropical storm in the South Atlantic Ocean near Angola is the first to be documented by satellites in the area.

2019 - The first ever image of a black hole is announced. The image is developed by scientists from the Event Horizon Telescope project, and the black hole is located at the center of the M87 galaxy.