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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where some recent ex-Orioles are having success elsewhere

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Alex Cobb, Renato Nunez, and other cast-off members of the 2020 Orioles are feeling at home with their new teams.

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Kansas City Royals
Alex Cobb is sporting a different hair style — and more swing-and-miss stuff — than he did with the Orioles.
Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

We’ll have to wait a little bit longer to find out if the Orioles can bounce back from their three-game sweep at the hands of the Red Sox over the weekend. Their scheduled contest against the Mariners last night was rained out, rescheduled as a doubleheader starting at 4:05 this afternoon.

But while the 2021 Orioles weren’t in action last night, several members of the 2020 Orioles were — for different teams. Last year’s O’s home runs leader, Renato Nunez, made his debut for the Detroit Tigers after replacing the injured Miguel Cabrera on the roster. And wouldn’t you know it: Nunez blasted a home run in his first game, along with a double. Yeah, he’s still got pop.

Elsewhere, Alex Cobb, the Orioles’ co-leader in starts in 2020, put on a dazzling show in his second start for the Angels. In 5.2 innings against the Royals, Cobb racked up an eye-popping 10 strikeouts — something he hadn’t done since 2014, and never came close to doing for the Orioles (his single-game high in strikeouts for the Birds was seven). Cobb has 17 whiffs in two games this year.

One of the hitters Cobb struck out in that game was his former O’s teammate Hanser Alberto, who has already endeared himself as a clubhouse favorite in Kansas City. Alberto entered yesterday with three doubles this year, most on the club.

And playing defense behind Cobb, just as he did last season in Baltimore, was shortstop Jose Iglesias, who enjoyed a multi-hit game. Iglesias’s offense for the Angels hasn’t been anywhere near the impossible standard he set last year for the Orioles, but he’s continued to flash his usual stellar leather.

All in all, nine members of last year’s Orioles have logged playing time with other major league teams this year. Aside from the four already mentioned, there are five relief pitchers: Mychal Givens (Rockies), Miguel Castro (Mets), Richard Bleier (Marlins), Carson Fulmer (Reds), and Tommy Milone (Blue Jays). Entering yesterday, that quintet had combined for a 2.49 ERA with 27 strikeouts in 19 games. The current Orioles’ threadbare bullpen could probably use a couple of those guys.

That’s not to say the Orioles made a mistake in parting ways with those nine players. Their reasons were understandable for a rebuilding club; many of those guys were traded for intriguing prospects, while others simply didn’t provide enough production to justify their escalating salaries. And it’s not as if that collection of players would vault the 2021 Orioles into contenders if they were still on the team.

Still, it’s okay if you miss some of those recent ex-Orioles and hope they continue playing well for their new teams this year. As the O’s roster churn continues, we can be sure there are going to be a lot more ex-Orioles playing elsewhere in the coming months and years.

Links

Maikel Franco’s bat may be heating up as he moves to cleanup spot - Steve Melewski
The Orioles didn’t end up playing last night, but they did have a lineup posted before the rainout. Brandon Hyde provided plenty of changes to ruminate over, including this one...

Mountcastle lowered to sixth in order (game postponed) - School of Roch
...and this one, too. The Orioles’ wunderkind rookie from a year ago getting demoted in the lineup, just 10 games into the season, isn’t exactly a great turn of events for a rebuilding club.

Cedric Mullins hitting well from left side - Orioles.com
One guy who won’t be losing his spot in the lineup anytime soon is Cedric Mullins, who is practically carrying the O’s offense right now. And he looks like he’s been hitting lefty-on-lefty his whole life, even though he just started about a month ago.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have just one O’s birthday buddy, but he’s a fan favorite: Steve Pearce turns 38 today. The utility man had three stints with the club during the successful 2012-2016 run, and he played a big role in the Birds’ AL East title in 2014 with an out-of-nowhere .293/.373/.556 batting line with 21 homers and 49 RBIs. Pearce later was the World Series MVP for the 2018 Red Sox, but we try not to think about that.

On this day in 1954, the Baltimore Orioles played their first game in team history, after the franchise moved from St. Louis the previous year. Future World Series perfect game-thrower Don Larsen started the Birds’ opener and threw a complete game, but gave up three solo homers in the Orioles’ 3-0 loss in Detroit. The Tigers’ Steve Gromek tossed a shutout, striking out nine.

On this date in 1966, three Hall of Fame Orioles combined to take down the Red Sox at Fenway Park, as Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson (in his second game as an Oriole), and Jim Palmer all hit home runs within the first two innings. Oh, and Palmer also threw a complete game — he could pitch a little bit, too.

And on this day in 1996, the Orioles pulled off a comeback, walkoff win over the Twins to improve to 9-1, their best 10-game start in team history. In a game they once trailed 6-1, the O’s tied the score on a B.J. Surhoff two-run homer in the eighth, then won it on Brady Anderson’s game-ending blast in the ninth. (Brady’s dinger came against Twins reliever Pat Mahomes, now best known for having a rather famous son.)