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Friday Bird Droppings: Where it already feels like a long season

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The Orioles entered their homestand in first place and finished it in the cellar. Things aren’t trending in the right direction.

MLB: Game One-Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Well, we’ve reached that dreary stretch of the baseball season, where the O’s are stumbling through one lifeless loss after another, devoid of energy, lacking a spark. Hey, it happens in these dog days of summer, when players are hitting the wall and exhausted from the grind of the long season.

(handed a note from off-screen)

Wait, it’s only April?!?! Hoo boy.

The Orioles are only 13 games into their 162-game schedule, and already they’re looking discouragingly similar to the noncompetitive cellar dweller that almost every pundit predicted them to be. It feels like four years ago that they swept the Red Sox in the opening series in Boston. (It probably feels like four years ago for the Red Sox, too, considering they’ve won nine of 10 games since then.)

There’s nothing like a 1-6 homestand to put a damper on any good vibes O’s fans were feeling after that opening road trip. Their final ignominy was getting swept in a doubleheader yesterday by a nondescript Mariners team whose roster includes a bunch of names that sound completely made up. Ljay Newsome. Ty France. Winn Spain. Will Vest. Drew Steckenrider. Chad Garfenflooger. (OK, I did actually make up two of those. But which two? Who can say for sure?)

The main culprit in the Orioles’ skid has been their offense, which was once projected to be, if not a strength, then at least a halfway capable facet of the club. Instead, the crew managed just seven hits and three runs in 14 innings of play yesterday. Mark Brown recapped the 4-2 defeat in the opener, and Alex Church detailed the 2-1 finale loss.

Almost nobody in the O’s lineup is hitting right now, besides Cedric Mullins, and even he went 0-for-6 in the doubleheader. DJ Stewart is the only Oriole other than Mullins with an OPS above .700, but he’s played just six games. Almost the entire O’s infield — Trey Mancini, Rio Ruiz, and Freddy Galvis — is hitting below the Mendoza line, as is Chance Sisco.

It’s very early, but things are ugly right now. The good news is that the offense is bound to get at least a little better — the law of averages suggests they won’t all underperform all year. Still, Orioles fans should brace themselves for what could be a long season.

Links

Orioles swept in doubleheader; Zimmermann allows 2 home runs; Offense gets just 3 hits - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff notes that the Orioles are 2-10 in doubleheader games since they were shortened to seven innings last season. I guess the O’s are just like, “Seven innings isn’t real baseball, so we’re not even gonna try.” That's my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Hyde on Kremer, Sceroler and celebrating Jackie Robinson Day - School of Roch
Not to be lost in the Orioles’ uninspired play on the field is that yesterday was Jackie Robinson Day. Brandon Hyde offered his thoughts on the special day and what it means to his club.

What the Orioles and Manny Machado taught the Rockies about a Trevor Story trade – The Athletic
Right now there’s a team having a lousy season who may consider putting their superstar, free-agent-to-be shortstop on the trade market. Sound familiar? Dan Connolly and Nick Groke discuss whether the 2021 Rockies could learn a thing or two from the 2018 Orioles.

Trey Mancini’s glove rips on play - Orioles.com
Even the Orioles’ equipment is having a rough go of it right now, as Trey Mancini’s busted glove can attest.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have two O’s birthday buddies, including one who’s still active in the majors: Richard “Big Dick” Bleier (34), whose nickname, strangely, is not listed in Baseball Reference. Bleier posted a 3.15 ERA in parts of four years with the Orioles before being traded to the Marlins early last season. He’s off to a shaky start with Miami this season, with a 5.68 ERA and three home runs allowed in 6.1 innings. Also born on this day was catcher Sergio Robles (75), who played 10 games for the Orioles in 1972-73.

On this date in 1967, Orioles left-hander Steve Barber carried a no-hitter into the ninth inning against the Angels, but had it broken up on a one-out double by Jim Fregosi, settling for a one-hit shutout. (Exactly two weeks later, Barber actually would throw a no-hitter, with help from reliever Stu Miller, but the O’s lost the game.)

On this day in 1972, following a two-week players’ strike that delayed the season, the Orioles played their season opener in rainy, miserable conditions in Baltimore, beating the Yankees, 3-1. The game was called in the bottom of the seventh after the field became too waterlogged.

And on this date in 2012, the O’s pulled off a thrilling comeback in Chicago, turning a late three-run deficit into a 10-4, extra-innings win. Trailing the White Sox 4-1 in the eighth, the O’s got one closer on a Matt Wieters homer, then tied the game in the ninth on solo shots by Nolan Reimold and Adam Jones. The Birds then rallied for six runs in the 10th, capped by an emphatic grand slam by Wieters. It was the first of what would become 16 consecutive extra-innings victories for the Orioles that season.