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Monday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are tied for the worst record in baseball

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The Orioles dropped to a season-worst 12 games under .500 by getting swept by a last-place team. There’s no rock bottom for this club.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Washington Nationals Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

What a productive week of Orioles baseball, he said sarcastically. The Orioles lost all six games they played, getting swept in back-to-back series, including by the last-place Nationals in D.C. The O’s have lost 10 of their last 11 games and 13 of 15 since John Means threw his no-hitter in Seattle, which apparently used up all the club’s good karma for the year.

As recently as the first week of May, the Orioles were just a game under .500. Now they’re 12 games under and fading fast, tied with the Twins — their next opponent — for the worst record in the majors.

The Orioles’ transformation from a sort-of-okay hanger-on into perhaps the most unwatchable team in baseball has been...well, I don’t want to say shocking, because many folks predicted this would be a brutal year for the Birds. But the dropoff has been sudden, and it’s been painful. The pitching staff is in utter shambles beyond Means’ brilliance; the second-best ERA among O’s starters is the 5.59 mark currently held by Bruce Zimmermann. Yes, that’s the second-best.

In two straight games, the Orioles staked their starter to at least a three-run lead before he ever took the mound; in both cases, the lead completely vanished before the middle innings arrived. Matt Harvey, once a feel-good story, is teetering into DFA territory after his latest disastrous outing against the Nationals yesterday, as Harrison Jozwiak recapped.

If you’re the type who’s already looking ahead to the 2022 draft, tonight’s upcoming series will be of particular interest, as the Orioles and Twins jockey for position for the No. 1 overall draft pick next year. The Twins, though, still have a lot to play for; they’ve made the playoffs three of the last four years and don’t figure to throw in the towel on 2021 this early. So they’d surely be happy to contribute to the Orioles’ ongoing freefall to jump-start their own season.

Is it depressing that it’s not even June and we’re already talking about the Orioles’ draft position? Yeah, well, get used to it. If this team keeps losing at the pace we know they’re capable of, there won’t be much else to get excited about.

Links

Another short start by Harvey leads to 6th straight loss; Orioles offense wakes up; Lakins demoted - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Matt Harvey’s post-game quote: “It sucks right now.” I think we’ve got a new slogan for the 2021 Orioles, folks!

Trey Mancini drives in 2 runs as Orioles lose to Nationals - Orioles.com
In fairness, not everything sucks. Trey Mancini has been on fire for a month. The fact that he’s even playing right now, let alone destroying the baseball the way he is, will never not be amazing to me.

Orioles recall Waddell (updated) - School of Roch
Brandon Hyde’s ringing endorsement for new reliever Brandon Waddell: “He hasn't pitched in a couple days, that’s helpful right there.” Well, you know, neither have I. More than a couple days, even. I’m ready!

As a Rule 5 pick, pitcher Tyler Wells trying to prove he belongs - Steve Melewski
Sometimes it’s tough for Rule 5 pitchers to stick on a big league roster if they’re mainly only used in mop-up situations. Good thing Tyler Wells plays for a team that has more mop-up situations than any team ever should.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Only one Oriole was born on this day: the late Willy Miranda (b. 1926, d. 1996), who was acquired as part of a record 17-player trade with the Yankees in 1954 and spent parts of five seasons as the Orioles’ shortstop.

On this day in 1962, Orioles manager Billy Hitchcock accused Tigers starter Jim Bunning of slicing baseballs with his belt buckle during Detroit’s 5-4 win in Baltimore. Hitchcock played the game under protest and collected a bunch of the doctored balls to send to AL president Joe Cronin, but nothing became of it.

On this day in 1970, Brooks Robinson smacked a walkoff home run against the Red Sox at Memorial Stadium for a 2-1 win. The game-ending blast was made possible by a brilliant outing from starter Mike Cuellar, who allowed just two hits in nine innings.

And Hall of Famer Dennis Eckersley twice dominated the Orioles on this date nearly two decades apart. In 1976, the then-21-year-old starter pitched eight innings of one-hit ball en route to a Cleveland shutout of the Orioles. Fast forward to 1995, and Eckersley, now a 40-year-old closer for the Athletics, earned his 300th career save with a scoreless ninth inning in a 5-3 A’s win. Let’s hope Eckersley doesn’t come out of retirement at age 66 tonight to pitch for the Twins, or the Orioles will be in trouble.