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Friday Bird Droppings: Where Camden Yards remains a house of horrors

It’s the greatest ballpark in baseball, but you wouldn’t know it from the Orioles’ lifeless performance at home thus far.

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Tampa Bay Rays v Baltimore Orioles
Maikel Franco, like most of us, is scratching his head about the Orioles’ home woes.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I feel like I’ve said this before. But the 2021 Orioles are shaping up to be one of the worst home-field performers in the history of baseball.

On the road, they’re actually a winning club (11-8). But at Camden Yards, they’re utterly unwatchable. With yesterday’s latest uncompetitive defeat, which completed the Rays’ three-game sweep, the Orioles fell to 6-18 in their first 24 home games this year. They’re the only major league team that has yet to win a home series, losing six and splitting one. They’ve been outscored by 50 runs, 144-94.

The Orioles have given up double-digit runs four times this year, and all four have happened at Camden Yards, including the 10-spot posted by the Rays yesterday (which Andrea dutifully recapped). They’ve also given up nine runs once and eight runs once in Baltimore. They’ve never allowed more than seven in a game on the road.

The Orioles’ .250 home winning percentage, if it held up all season, would be by far the worst in club history, “surpassing” the current record low of .309 by the 2019 Orioles. In their 24th home game that year, the Birds lost to the Yankees, 7-5, on May 22, as Dan Straily got torched for six runs on four homers. Gleyber Torres smacked a pair of roundtrippers, two of the 13 he would hit against the Orioles that season. A highlight for the Orioles was Richie Martin’s first MLB home run.

For what it’s worth, that 2019 club, just like this year’s, went 6-18 in its first 24 home games, though those Orioles marginally improved to post a 19-38 mark at Camden Yards the rest of the season. The 2021 Birds can only hope to aspire to that blistering .333 winning percentage from here on out.

The good news for the Orioles is that they can get away from the bad juju at their home ballpark for a while. Today they set out on a 10-game, three-city road trip, where they’ll face two last-place clubs — the Nationals and Twins — followed by the tough White Sox in Chicago. The O’s don’t return to Baltimore until Memorial Day.

I never thought I’d say this, but...I’m so glad the Orioles are leaving town. While they’re at it, maybe they can petition the commissioner to let them spend the rest of the season on the road. It might be the only chance the Orioles have of putting up a halfway decent season in 2021.


Orioles’ home woes worsen in 10-1 loss (McKenna optioned) - School of Roch
Brandon Hyde seems at his wits’ end with the Orioles’ shoddy pitching performance of late. Get in line, Brandon.

Orioles’ Adley Rutschman, an MLB top prospect, has star mindset - USA Today
Everything I read about Adley Rutschman makes me even more hyped to see him in the majors. Can we just fast forward to 2022 already?

Orioles lift seating capacity limits at Camden Yards; Santander ready for return -
Some good news for the Orioles, besides the fact that they get to leave Camden Yards again: Anthony Santander will be back in the lineup today. But can he pitch?

Myriad O’s Thoughts: Chris Davis’ saga, Richie Martin’s luck, second-base conundrum – The Athletic
Dan Connolly expects to see Chris Davis back at Orioles spring training next year. Get excited, folks!

Oriole Park to lift capacity restrictions starting June 1 - WBAL
In case you missed it, the Orioles are opening to full capacity in less than two weeks, but they’re keeping the ban on outside food and drink because of...uh...reasons.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have six Orioles birthday buddies, headlined by Matt Wieters, who turns 35. Wieters never lived up to the “Switch-Hitting Jesus” hype that accompanied him after being the fifth overall pick in 2007, but he put together a solid career, good enough to rank him as the 35th best Oriole of all time. Wieters went unsigned this past winter after spending two years apiece with the Nationals and Cardinals, so it appears his major league career might be over after 12 seasons.

Other ex-Orioles with birthdays today are 2016-19 outfielder Joey Rickard (30) and dominant 2014 reliever Andrew Miller (36), as well as catchers Tommy Davis (48) and Chris Widger (50) and outfielder Bob Molinaro (71), each of whom played fewer than 10 games with the Birds.

On this day in 1957, Orioles starter Ray Moore pitched 15 innings (!) against the Tigers at Memorial Stadium, holding them to one run on eight hits. He’s one of just two pitchers in O’s history to work 15 innings or more in a game. Alas, the Birds took him out in the 16th and reliever Mike Fornieles promptly gave up the go-ahead run, resulting in a 2-1 Orioles loss.

On this date a year earlier, the O’s made a useful trade with the White Sox, acquiring Hall of Fame third baseman George Kell along with Bob Nieman, Connie Johnson, and the aforementioned Mike Fornieles in exchange for Jim Wilson and Dave Philley. Kell finished his career in Baltimore and became a mentor to young O’s third baseman Brooks Robinson, while Nieman was one of the Birds’ best hitters for a four-year stretch.

Apparently the O’s have a thing for acquiring Hall of Famers on May 21, because on this date in 1962 they signed right-hander Robin Roberts after the Yankees released him. Roberts had already enjoyed a spectacular 14-year career with the Phillies, and he contributed to the Orioles, too, going 42-36 with a 3.09 ERA over parts of four seasons.