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Sunday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles have waved goodbye to first place

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The Orioles were holding on to first place until last night’s loss. They’re looking to avoid a sweep today.

Boston Red Sox v Baltimore Orioles
They’re hugging first place good-bye. No, not really.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

The Orioles reign in first place in the division has come to an end after eight games. Needing a win against the Red Sox last night to stay up in first, the O’s instead lost a stupid game by a 6-4 score in ten innings, looking a lot like the 95+ loss team that most people and projection systems predicted that they would be before the season started.

If you want to look on the bright side, the O’s have a chance to get back to at least a share of first place by avoiding a sweep this afternoon. If the O’s win today, they’ll be 5-4, and so will be the Red Sox, with the best possible record of any other AL East team also being 5-4. That’s the Rays, who play the Yankees.

Another bright side is that even though the Orioles lost last night, Trey Mancini hit his first home run of the season, briefly delighting a home crowd that probably wanted not much more than getting to see Mancini do exactly this:

The O’s offense while Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann was in the game, bidding to join the list of Maryland natives to win a game at Camden Yards, consisted of Mancini’s home run here, and an Anthony Santander home run immediately after Mancini’s. Zimmermann ended up with the minimum for a quality start, six innings pitched and three earned runs allowed.

Zimmermann will probably get that win eventually if he keeps pitching that way. It’s not overwhelming performance, but most nights it’ll be good enough. Except that the O’s offense, through eight games, is not doing much to make you believe that it WILL be good enough. A lot of dudes are riding the struggle bus. We’re talking eight game samples at most so far, so there’s time to turn it around, but another eight games and suddenly it’s 10% of the season.

The series closes out with a scheduled 1:05 start time this afternoon. Nick Pivetta and Jorge López are the expected starting pitchers. It will be nice if the Orioles can win. It may feel like a moral victory if they can manage to strike out fewer than ten times in the game.

Around the blogO’sphere

Austin Hays’ injury hamstrings Orioles outfield defense (Baltimore Baseball)
Thankfully, this was less true last night, when DJ Stewart started a nice relay that cut down a runner at the plate.

Stewart on his return from hamstring injury (School of Roch)
Stewart being activated from the injured list turned into a chance to surprise his wife by driving to Baltimore when she thought they were going to the alternate training site in Bowie.

Burned down and built over, “Old” Oriole Park gets a deserved plaque (Baltimore Sun)
This one is for the very old timers.

So far, some O’s that are not big strikeout guys have struck out big (Steve Melewski)
The Orioles have now struck out 101 times in their first eight games of the season. By striking out “only” ten times last night, they did at least stop continuing to set an MLB record of consecutive games with 13+ strikeouts.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2002, the Orioles smoked the then-Devil Rays, 15-6. In the course of the sixth inning, they set a franchise record with 11 hits in one inning, as well as 12 runs scored in an inning. The offensive outburst helped the O’s break a six game losing streak.

There are several former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2014-15 outfielder Alejandro de Aza, 1992 reserve Steve Scarsone, 1981 four-gamer Willie Royster, and 1962 pitcher Art Quirk.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: surgeon James Parkinson (1755), and, uh, maybe you can find someone on this list you’re glad to share a birthday with.

On this day in history...

In 1713, the Treaty of Utrecht brought an effective end to the War of the Spanish Succession, in which a coalition fought France to prevent King Louis XIV’s grandson from continuing to reign as king of Spain. Treaties agreed to at Utrecht allowed Phillip V to stay on as king so long as he surrendered his claim to the French throne.

In 1814, the War of the Sixth Coalition came to an end with the Treaty of Fontainebleau. Napoleon Bonaparte was forced to abdicate as French emperor and exiled to Elba, where you may have heard he did not long remain.

In 1945, the Buchenwald concentration camp was liberated by American forces.

In 1970, Apollo 13 launched on a mission that was intended to land on the moon.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 11, or at least until something changes later when the Orioles play the Red Sox. Have a safe Sunday.