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Thursday Bird Droppings: Once again in search of the Orioles offense

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The Orioles have now scored two or fewer runs in five of their last seven games and have been shut out four times in 24 games.

MLB: APR 27 Yankees at Orioles
“You’re going to need a bigger bat.”
Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Hello, friends.

Do you ever get the feeling that the Orioles... might not be very good? Anyone could be forgiven for thinking this way, especially after watching games like they played last night. The O’s were shut out for the fourth time in 24 games of the season so far, notching just four hits and one walk in a 6-0 loss. They have now scored the third-fewest runs of any MLB team. Check out Andrea’s recap of the loss for the not-so-lovely totals.

The only consolation is that it is not too surprising that the Orioles are not good. Rosy optimists could not have expected much from this team, this year. Even that is only worth so much, given how much some of the younger players who you might have been legitimately hoping could be on the next good Orioles team are struggling.

For the offense, Ryan Mountcastle and his .493 OPS are at the top of the list here, but it’s also been tough so far for DJ Stewart (.622) and Austin Hays (.679). We can’t forget about Anthony Santander (.551 OPS) even with him on the injured list right now. Speaking of him, it may be a little longer before we see him again, as you’ll see in today’s link roundup.

On the pitching side, there’s Dean Kremer in the disappointing category. After giving up six runs in 4.1 innings last night, with seemingly every ball off of a Yankee bat being a rocket, Kremer now sits with an 8.40 ERA for the season. That’s tough going! And Keegan Akin, another near future rotation hopeful, was so bad in spring training that the Orioles decided they’d rather roll with today’s starting pitcher, Jorge López, in the rotation than Akin. López carries an 8.15 ERA through four starts.

It’s a 1:05 Eastern finale of the series between the Orioles and Yankees today, so whatever happens this afternoon, it’ll probably be over with before you are into your evening routine. López and Jordan Montgomery are the scheduled starting pitchers. The Orioles were also shut out the last time they faced Montgomery, with the starter striking out seven batters over six innings.

Around the blogO’sphere

Updating Santander (School of Roch)
If it’s your first experience with a baseball injury, you may be surprised to find out that the initial 2-4 week injury estimate is just going to end up being at least four weeks.

Orioles trying to keep it simple with outfield alignment - and the assists are piling up (The Baltimore Sun)
Turns out that there... might be defensive benefits to playing three real outfielders in the outfield? Who could have ever guessed this?

Hyde still has faith in Mountcastle (Baltimore Baseball)
Things have not been pretty for Ryan Mountcastle so far. Manager Brandon Hyde said yesterday that he’d “like to see him work through these struggles and work through a tough start.”

The one pitch (is it just one?) that makes Valdez elite (Orioles.com)
Joe Trezza and one of his MLB colleagues took a deeper look at the “dead fish” changeup.

Adam Plutko has been a solid addition to the Orioles bullpen (Steve Melewski)
In Mike Elias’s first season, he added Pedro Severino as a waiver claim in the waning days of spring training. This year, it was Plutko. The early results on Plutko are surprisingly good.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1988, the record-setting season-opening losing streak came to an end as the 0-21 Orioles finally got in the win column with a 9-0 victory over the White Sox, in which O’s pitchers held Chicago batters to just four hits.

In 2015, the Orioles again beat the White Sox, 8-2. Noteworthy about the game is that it was played in front of no fans following two postponed games the previous two days, resulting from caution over civil unrest in the aftermath of Freddie Gray’s death in police custody.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2008 reserve catcher Omir Santos, 1987 reserve infielder Ron Washington, different 1987 reserve infielder Rick Burleson, and 1963-67 shortstop and Baseball Hall of Famer Luis Aparicio. Today is Aparicio’s 87th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your other birthday buddies for today include: mathematician Henri Poincaré (1854), newspaper man William Randolph Hearst (1863), jazz legend Duke Ellington (1899), musician Willie Nelson (1933), NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt (1951), actor Daniel Day-Lewis (1957), actress Michelle Pfeiffer (1958), and tennis star Andre Agassi (1970).

On this day in history...

In 1429, Joan of Arc arrived at the siege of Orléans with hundreds of soldiers and supplies. Within two weeks, the English siege was broken and their soldiers withdrew elsewhere.

In 1861, the Maryland House of Delegates voted against seceding from the United States by a 53-13 margin.

In 1970, American and South Vietnamese forces launched an invasion of Cambodia, with the goal of hunting Viet Cong in the southeastern part of that country.

In 1992, four police officers were acquitted of charges stemming from the beating of Rodney King, sparking days of riots in Los Angeles.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 29, or at least until something changes later when the Orioles close out their series against the Yankees. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!