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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are looking to avoid another sweep

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The thing about a rebuilding project is that most days aren’t fun at the MLB level. The Orioles had another not fun one last night.

Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles
Paul Fry is among the Orioles who were not good last night.
Photo by Will Newton/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

Are we having fun yet? There’s something about a bullpen-influenced loss that makes it feel more frustrating than other kinds of losses. The Orioles scored seven runs last night, with Trey Mancini driving in five of them by himself, and this was in support of John Means. That should have been plenty enough! Then, it wasn’t enough, with the Means outing turning tough later on. Six runs scored after he left the game as well. So the O’s lost, 9-7. Check out Alex’s recap of the game for the not-so-lovely totals.

The latest loss leaves the Orioles at 17-25 for the season, with a 5-11 record so far in May. They are averaging 5.75 runs allowed per game this month. That’s some rough going. The offense has been OK, averaging about 4.5 runs scored per game. If they’d been scoring at that pace all season long, they’d be a middle-of-the-pack offense. That gets you wins with decent pitching.

The O’s just don’t have that decent pitching. Means is the only good one in the rotation, and it’s still not clear which of the good-in-April relievers can be relied upon in high leverage spots. Two of the mostly-good-until-now ones, Adam Plutko and Paul Fry, figured prominently in last night’s loss. The team is now on pace for a 66-96 record in the 2021 season. At this point I would still take the under on that win total, though I think we are getting close to having their record reflect their true talent level.

If there’s any silver lining about some of this season’s stupid losses, it’s that you can look at some minor league box scores and feel a little bit better. We’ll have our regular daily minor league recap coming later on, but just to give you a little taste, here’s one bit of farm good news from last night: Kyle Bradish, the most advanced starting pitcher received in the Dylan Bundy trade, struck out 10 batters in a four inning, 70 pitch outing for Bowie.

The Orioles have been a baseball team going nowhere good since about Labor Day, 2017. That’s a lot of bad baseball that O’s fans have endured, with more to come before the team is good again. This fact is not fun and can only be avoided by trying not to think about it. It’s easier to believe that better times are coming than it was when Mike Elias first took over. They just aren’t in MLB or even in Norfolk yet.

The O’s try to avoid a sweep by the Rays as the series concludes with a 12:35 afternoon start time today. Dean Kremer gets the start for the Orioles, with former Oriole Rich “The Blister” Hill - MLB’s oldest active player - pitching for Tampa.

Around the blogO’sphere

Elias updates Davis, Martin, Harvey, and Kjerstad (School of Roch)
Along with yesterday’s headline injury news, there were other injury updates. Richie Martin is out 8-12 weeks. Hunter Harvey is throwing in sim games. Heston Kjerstad is still just doing light workouts.

For Orioles, caution with John Means now means having him at ‘the top of a playoff rotation’ in the near future (The Baltimore Sun)
I hope that this headline can manifest some positive energy in the Birdland universe. Means did look mortal last night for pretty much the first time all year.

Top 200 Draft prospects list: A new no. 1 (MLB Pipeline)
The draft is now a bit less than two months away, and one outlet has revisited its prospect list from its original ranking. Vanderbilt pitchers Jack Leiter and Kumar Rocker, once 1-2, are now 3 and 5. For the Orioles, who pick fifth, a top of the board shakeup is significant.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The Orioles last won a game played on May 20 in 2017, when they beat the Blue Jays, 7-5. The O’s responded to blowing a 4-2 lead in the top of the 7th by retaking it in the bottom of the inning when Welington Castillo hit a three-run dinger. Current Oriole César Valdez pitched the eighth for the Jays.

The win improved the O’s to 25-16 on the season - no, really - and put them in first place in the AL East. Then they lost the next seven games.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2006-08 catcher Ramón Hernández, 1988 two-game pitcher Gordon Dillard, and 1996 pitcher David Wells. Today is Wells’s 58th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: writer Honoré de Balzac (1799), philosopher John Stuart Mill (1806), baseball Hall of Famer Hal Newhouser (1921), aircraft designer Alexei Tupolev (1925), musician Cher (1946), actor Timothy Olyphant (1968), and rapper Busta Rhymes (1972).

On this day in history...

In 685, King Bridei III’s Picts defeated the invading Northumbrians of King Ecgfrith in the Battle of Dun Nechtain.

In 1498, the Portuguese explorer Vasco da Gama arrived in modern day Kozhikode, India, marking the discovery of the sea route to India.

In 1609, Shakespeare’s sonnets were first published in London. It remains unclear to history whether this was a sanctioned publication or not.

In 1873, Levi Strauss and Jacob Davis received a patent for their invention of blue jeans with copper rivets.

In 1969, the US Army captured Hill 937 (Hamburger Hill) in Vietnam after a ten day battle. Within two weeks, they abandoned the position.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on May 20. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!