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Sunday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are still trying to halt the Athletics

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The Orioles have had two tries to stop Oakland’s winning streak and all they’ve done is keep extending it.

Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles
It be like that sometimes.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

Another day has gone by with little sign of life from the Orioles offense. For the fourth time in their last five games, the O’s were held to two runs or fewer. It’s a tough way to win games, and indeed, the Orioles are not. They dropped a 7-2 game to the Athletics on Saturday night, the 13th straight victory by Oakland. Check out Tyler Young’s recap of the game for the not-so-lovely totals.

Even a decent set of results by the offense would have probably ended up with a loss. The other aspect of Saturday’s game is that it was planned as a bullpen game and that had some, uh, expected hiccups. There are not many good possibilities when you send out Wade LeBlanc to start a game in 2021 - unless the goal is to get a better draft pick in 2022, anyway.

Let’s get to something that’s a bit more exciting before we keep talking about the depressing stuff. Late last night, MASN’s Roch Kubatko dropped a scoop on Twitter:

Hey, that’s fun! Hopefully it ends up being as fun as it seems. Lowther is the #15 prospect on the composite Orioles prospect list for 2021. He’s an interesting name O’s fans have been hearing for a few years now and as with every prospect down on the farm right now, if he can come up and be successful, then the rebuilding project moving into a better phase becomes that much closer.

The Orioles, now at 8-12, have played themselves down into the picture for the worst record in MLB. Unfortunately, last week’s enjoyment of the last place Yankees is over. The Yankees are no longer in last and the O’s are. The O’s are now on pace for 65 wins on the season. That seems about right for this bunch, doesn’t it? The 7-14 Tigers and 7-12 Twins both have worse records than the O’s in the AL, and over in the NL, the Rockies are at 7-13.

The good news for Orioles fans, or at least we can hope it’s good news, is that John Means is set to take the mound for the series finale at 1:05 this afternoon. Means has looked great through his first four starts of the year, with a 1.52 ERA and 0.930 WHIP. Even if you consider that his 3.01 FIP suggests he’s been a bit lucky, a 3.01 FIP is still great! If Means can sustain a FIP like that, he’s going to be turning some heads in 2021.

The A’s counter in the finale with Jesus Luzardo, who has not been so good so far in 2021, sporting a 5.89 ERA and 1.582 WHIP. I will make a prediction that Luzardo’s season ERA will go down in this start.

Around the blogO’sphere

Akin unavailable to pitch after receiving stitches in finger (School of Roch)
Keegan Akin was potentially in line to pitch last night until he cut his index finger while making breakfast. I’m reminded of the time Hayden Penn was about to get a call-up until he developed appendicitis.

Cole Sulser’s resurgence on display (The Baltimore Sun)
I was not enthused with Sulser’s results last year and confused why he remained on the roster all offseason, but so far it seems like the Orioles were right to have patience with him.

Updates from the Orioles alternate training site (Orioles.com)
The O’s Bowie crew has been playing the Nationals alternate training site people twice a week for two weeks and they’ve yet to lose a game. Not bad! Joe Trezza rounds up some of the top performers, including actual prospects Jahmai Jones and Zac Lowther.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The Orioles have not won a game on April 25 since the 2015 season, a 10-inning affair against the Red Sox where the O’s scored two to win it in the bottom of the 10th. David Lough’s walkoff homer finished things, improving the O’s to 8-10 on the season.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2009-12 Red Sox destroyer Robert Andino, 2000 five-game pitcher Darren Holmes, and 1955 swingman Art Schallock. Today is Schallock’s 97th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: English Civil War victor Oliver Cromwell (1599), longtime Supreme Court justice William Brennan (1906), journalist Edward Murrow (1908), singer Ella Fitzgerald (1917), actor Al Pacino (1940), actor Hank Azaria (1964), and actress Renée Zellweger (1969).

On this day in history...

In 1644, the last emperor of China’s Ming dynasty, which had reigned since 1368, committed suicide in the midst of a peasant rebellion. The successor Shun dynasty lasted five years before being replaced by the Qing.

In 1792, France’s national anthem, “La Marseillaise,” was composed.

In 1898, the United States declared war on Spain, beginning the Spanish-American War.

In 1915, during World War I, British and other allied forces began landings during the Battle of Gallipoli. The British suffered a defeat in the campaign, with about 51,000 killed, including disproportionate losses to the Australian and New Zealand Corps (ANZAC).

In 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson published their paper, “Molecular Structure of Nucleic Acids: A Structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.” The subject of the paper was the double helix structure of DNA.

In 1960, the submarine USS Triton returned to St. Peter and Paul Rocks, from which it had departed two months earlier for Operation Sandblast, the first submerged circumnavigation of the globe.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 25. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!