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Monday Bird Droppings: Trying to focus on the positive

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The Orioles got swept and things look pretty dire, but at least we have Cedric Mullins.

MLB: APR 08 Red Sox at Orioles Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! I hope you had a restful weekend. The Orioles themselves didn’t have a relaxing weekend as they were too busy getting smacked around by the Boston Red Sox. This series had it all. Well, except for an Orioles win. There were blown saves, blowouts, many home runs, plays that would embarrass little leaguers, there was even an automatic ball called in yesterday’s game!

We’re now nine games into the 2021 season and I hate to be the one to break it to you, but I don’t think the Orioles are going to be very good. They probably won’t always be as bad they were yesterday when they lost 14-9, but we have some brutal days ahead of us. But there is plenty of time to talk about gloom and doom, so let me highlight some of the good things we’ve seen over the past nine games.

First, Cedric Mullins. You guys. Cedric Mullins! Is he your favorite player yet? When is the t-shirt giveaway? Not including yesterday’s game, in which he went 2-for-5 with a double and a walk, Mullins is already sporting an fWAR of 0.7, which is third in all of baseball behind Mike Trout and Byron Buxton. He’s getting extra base hits, he’s making diving catches, he’s doing it all. Ok so his arm isn’t great but this isn’t the place for that. I can’t wait to see what he does next!

Now, how about Trey Mancini? After what I’m sure was an emotionally grueling start to the season for our comeback player, Mancini has hit two home runs in as many days and is starting to look good at the plate. Yesterday’s three-run homer was hit 368 feet off of a 93 mph sinker.

Tanner Scott! There was a time when I thought Tanner Scott would never make it in the majors. Back when I was writing regular minor league recaps for this site, the question when seeing Scott’s name in the box score was if he’d strike out or walk more batters. Because he always was a big strikeout guy but man could he walk some batters. But he overcame his trouble and is looking incredible out there.

Speaking of relief pitchers, Adam Plutko. The Orioles got him from Cleveland for basically nothing and he’s had three scoreless outings. A few inherited runners have scored, but compared to some of other bullpen guys he has been just outstanding.

Link

Orioles surrender six homers, get swept - School of Roch
Roch has his thoughts on the sweep and quotes from manager Brandon Hyde and the players.

Bruce Zimmermann’s memorable ‘second debut’ shows he’s no hometown novelty act, but a future Orioles rotation piece - Baltimore Sun
I love the Bruce Zimmermann story as much as anyone, and two starts into the 2021 season I'm looking forward to see more of what he has to offer. But I think declaring him a future Orioles rotation piece might be a touch premature. Unless the future we’re talking about is like, next week.

Baltimore Orioles Stat of the Day, April 2021 - MLB.com
One fun thing that happened in yesterday's game was that Ryan McKenna got his first major league hit, and it was a triple! Good for him. Other Orioles who tripled for their first career hit include Manny Machado and Matt Wieters.

Birthdays and History

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have four Orioles birthday buddies. Relief pitcher for recent good Orioles teams, Brad Brach, turns 35 today. Baseball Reference informs me that Brach’s nickname is B-Rad, which I felt like I should share with you.

It’s also the birthday of late Charlie Lau (b. 1933, d. 1984) and Bill Wight (b. 1922, d. 2007). Lau spent time with the Orioles from 1961-63 and 1965-67. Wight pitched for the Orioles from 1955-57.

And a very happy 92nd birthday to Mel Held. Held pitched in four games for the 1956 Orioles at the age of 27. Those for games are the only of his major league career. I wonder what he’s been doing in the 65 years since then? Living a good life, I hope.

On this day in 2013, the Orioles were on the wrong end of a triple play against the New York Yankees. With Alexi Casilla on second base and Nick Markakis on first, Manny Machado hit a ground ball to second base. The Yankees’ 2B flipped to second to get the force on Markakis, then their shortstop threw to third to get Casilla caught in a rundown. Machado tried to get to second base during said run down and both ended up getting tagged out.

In 2016, the Orioles beat the Red Sox 5-2 thanks in part to two home runs by J.J. Hardy. The win gave them a 7-0 record and made them the only undefeated team left in the majors. That sounds like an exciting start! I wonder what ever happened to that team. I sure hope they made the best use of their relief pitchers in the playoffs!

Oh, and one more thing. If you’ve been keeping track of the pre-season contest, we have another answer in the books. Just as the Red Sox were the first team that the Orioles swept, they were also the first team to sweep the Orioles. Congrats to the 37 of you who chose correctly! You can see the current results here.