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Monday Bird Droppings: The Orioles can’t stop losing at home

Nothing short-circuits the Birds’ momentum like playing at Camden Yards, where they’re now 4-13 this season.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Ryan McKenna, shown here not catching a ball.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

You know, if the Orioles are excited to have fans back at Camden Yards this year, they sure have a funny way of showing it.

The Birds have saved their very worst performances of the 2021 season for the hometown crowd. With yesterday’s loss to the Red Soxwhich Harrison Jozwiak recapped — the O’s fell to a horrific 4-13 in Baltimore this season. That’s a .235 winning percentage, which over a full season would be the worst in Orioles history by far. (Their previous worst mark was .309 in 2019, when the O’s went 25-56 at home.)

The Orioles are on the verge of getting swept in four games by the Sox, with the finale set for this evening. In any case, they’ve already guaranteed a series loss, meaning the Birds have yet to win any of their five series at Camden Yards this year.

It’s not hard to find the reason for the Birds’ lack of success at Camden Yards. While the Orioles’ offense has been slightly better at home than on the road this year, their pitching splits reveal a much starker contrast. On the road, O’s pitchers carry an impressive 3.11 ERA and 1.115 WHIP — not to mention a no-hitter — in 17 games. In an equal number of games in Baltimore, on the other hand, the Orioles have struggled to a 5.17 ERA and 1.405 WHIP, giving up 30 home runs at Camden Yards compared to 17 on the road.

The Orioles’ most lopsided losses tend to happen at home. Of the 11 times this year they’ve allowed six or more runs, eight have occurred in Baltimore. All but one have been defeats.

It’s almost getting to the point where we’d rather the Orioles just stayed on one long road trip for the rest of the season. Sure, taking in a game at Camden Yards is a good time. But the Orioles actually winning games is an even better time. And right now, that just isn’t happening when they don the home whites.


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Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Just one Oriole was born on this day: 6-foot-9 right-hander Kam Mickolio, who turns 37. Mickolio was one of five players the O’s acquired in the Erik Bedard trade, but didn’t rise to the All-Star level of fellow acquisitions Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, and George Sherrill. He appeared in 23 games over parts of three seasons, posting a 4.32 ERA.

On this day in 1969, the Orioles beat the Royals, 6-5, on a walkoff home run by...the pitcher, Jim Hardin! The O’s reliever socked the game-winning blast in the ninth off former Oriole Moe Drabowsky. Hardin became the last American League pitcher ever to hit a walkoff homer, as the DH rule was instituted four years later.

The O’s have also had a couple walkoff homers on this date by actual hitters. In 1978, Eddie Murray smacked a two-run blast in the ninth that turned a 2-1 deficit into a 3-2 victory, making a winner of Mike Flanagan, who threw a complete game and struck out 10 Red Sox. In 1985, Fred Lynn’s ninth-inning shot gave the O’s a 6-5 win over the Twins.

In 1996, the Orioles played a crazy game in Milwaukee where they blew a two-run lead in the ninth, jumped back ahead by two in the 10th, then blew that lead in the bottom of the inning, but hit three straight RBI singles in the 12th and finally held on to win. It was one of 11 extra-inning games the Orioles have played on May 10, more than any other calendar date.

And on this day in 2012, the Orioles became the first team in AL history to lead off a game with three consecutive homers, with Ryan Flaherty (his first major league homer), J.J. Hardy, and Nick Markakis doing the honors in an eventual 6-5 win over the Rangers.