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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles started their road trip on a winning note.

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It was a complete team win for the O’s on Friday night in Texas as López looked to be at his best, and the bats went deep a couple of times.

Baltimore Orioles v Texas Rangers Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Last night’s win was pretty great, right? The Orioles starter got through five innings. The offense didn’t look completely impotent. Cedric Mullins got back on track. And the bullpen was great! Plus, they wrapped up the win in a speedy two hours and 32 minutes.

It wasn’t perfect, of course. The Orioles lineup went silent in the final four frames, and Trey Mancini’s 0-for-4, four strikeout performance was particularly concerning. But let’s stick with the positives. This is only the team’s second win in that last eight games. There will be plenty of time for dragging them later on.

Perhaps the biggest takeaway was that Jorge López looked incredible. Yes, he did give up two home runs in the fifth inning, so the questions about his ability to get through a lineup multiple times remain. But look at those first four innings. He had the best velocity of his career, touching 97 for the duration of the night. And his command was fully locked in. He entered the game with doubts about whether he could handle a starter’s role. At the very least, he earned himself another turn in the rotation.

Every week that goes by where the O’s can continue to rely on the same starting rotation that began the year, the better. The organization seems interested in letting the likes of Zac Lowther, Mike Baumann, and Alex Wells face Triple-A lineups a few times before pushing them to the big leagues. With the minor league season not starting until May, that will require López and his peers to hang on for a while longer.

Links

Kremer starts Saturday, Hays nearing return and more | School of Roch
The starter for today was TBD until Friday afternoon, but giving Dean Kremer the ball makes sense. He will be on short rest, but he only threw 54 pitches in his last outing and should be fresh enough. Even still, this feels like a game where Tyler Wells or Wade LeBlanc could make an early appearance.

13 Orioles observations for 13 games, from a rough start at the plate to bright spots on the mound | The Baltimore Sun
The Orioles have had a weird opening two weeks to the season. It’s not too surprising that the bullpen has been rather good. There were always enough quality arms there to make it work. But the extreme struggles of the lineup are weird, and it’s coming from all of the players that were expected to have massive impact. You would have to think that, eventually, that will change.

Observations on Orioles’ hitting and starting pitching through first 2 weeks | BaltimoreBaseball.com
If the Orioles end the season with the .429 winning percentage that they currently have, that likely means they had a pretty successful season. That would put them right near the 70-win mark. That said, there is a lot of baseball left to be played.

Austin Hays’ pending return means Brandon Hyde will have fully stocked Orioles outfield for first time | The Baltimore Sun
This is a good problem to have. Brandon Hyde isn’t going to be able to get Mullins, Hays, DJ Stewart, Ryan Mountcastle, and Anthony Santander into the lineup at the same time. There aren’t enough positions to go around. But it does give Hyde options and the ability to pull a useful bat off the bench late in games should he need it.

This is a Cedric Mullins appreciation podcast now (Ep. 64) | The Warehouse Podcast
Listen to this! Or don’t. You are your own person, and what I say has no barring on what you decide to do with your weekend.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Craig Worthington turns 56 today. The former third baseman spent four seasons in Baltimore from 1988 through 1991. He posted a 2.6 bWAR and 93 OPS+ while with the Orioles.
  • Former catcher Dave Huppert is 64 years old. He played in two games for the 1983 Orioles.

This day in history

1993 - The Orioles fall victim to the rare triple play TOOTBLAN in a game they ultimately lose 7-5 to the Angels. The Baltimore Sun documented the poor baserunning.