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Saturday Bird Droppings: Orioles prospect Zac Lowther to make first big league start

Plenty of O’s news awaits as Mountcastle improves, we continue to bask in the Means greatness, and a rookie makes a debut.

Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Oh, you didn’t stay up until the wee hours of the morning to watch the Orioles and Red Sox finish a rain-delayed slog of a baseball game? I envy you. But I also wrote a recap so that you can catch up with those of us that preferred bad baseball over sleep. I can’t explain it.

Fans that attend this evening’s game between the two clubs will be treated to quite a time at Camden Yards. The Orioles are going to hold a pre-game ceremony to celebrate John Means’s no-hitter, an event that was supposed to happen on Friday, but the rain washed it away. Then, you get to watch Zac Lowther make his first major league start. That all is well worth the price of admission.

Lowther is an interesting case. He isn’t at the level that scouts view the likes of DL Hall or Grayson Rodriguez, but he is considered a legitimate back-end rotation prospect, which is plenty valuable. The lefty has been dominant at every level he has played, and already has an inning of big league work under his belt.

It is possible his stay in the majors is short as the Orioles continue to watch the innings of their young pitchers following the absent minor league season a year ago. But Lowther should see his share of outings for the big league squad this summer, and a positive performance will put him into the thick of the rotation discussions next spring.


Mountcastle starting to find his groove |
He is too talented of a player to keep down. You just knew he was going to turn it around, and Ryan Mountcastle has done just that over the last couple of weeks. He is hitting the ball with authority and his average is starting to inch up. Maybe the Rookie of the Year award is still within reach.

O’s still not making a dent in their playoff odds | Steve Melewski
This was the article du jour for social media’s ridicule yesterday, and it’s easy enough to see why. FanGraphs isn’t throwing darts at the wall here. They literally have an explainer as to how they come up with the percentage. They aren’t saying it is impossible for the Orioles to make the playoffs, but rather that it didn’t happen in their 10,000 simulations. We don’t always have to be aggrieved, folks!

Orioles pitching coach Holt gives credit to Means after no-hitter; López stays in rotation; Santander healing |
It would be cool if the Orioles could repeat the trick they have pulled off with former 11th-round selection John Means on a few more less-heralded pitchers.

John Means is the best pitcher in the world (Ep. 67) | The Warehouse Podcast
You want more John Mean content. You crave it! My pals and I discuss the no-hitter and then get into the lefty’s future with the Orioles.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Sean Gilmartin turns 31. He appeared in 13 games for the Orioles between 2018 and ‘19.
  • Alfredo Simón celebrates his 40th. He was an Orioles hurler from 2008 through 2011, tossing 184.1 total innings between both the bullpen and rotation.
  • Happy 40th to John Maine as well. He started 11 games for the Orioles between 2004 and ‘05 before being traded to the Mets in the deal that landed Kris Benson in Baltimore.
  • It is also the birthday of the late Mike Cuellar (1937-2010). The Orioles legend played eight seasons in orange and black, including a Cy Young performance in 1969, when he had a 2.38 ERA over 290.2 innings.

This day in history

1966 - Frank Robinson hits a ball all the way out of Baltimore’s Memorial Stadium, a home run that is estimated to have traveled 541 feet. The O’s beat Cleveland 8-3.

1979 - Eddie Murray extends his hit streak to 19 as he, Lee May, and Gary Roenicke hit back-to-back-to-back home runs in an 8-2 win over the Oakland Athletics.

2018 - Dylan Bundy becomes the first pitcher to allow four home runs without recording an out. The Orioles righty gets roughed up in the first inning of a game against the Royals, serving up 7 runs in the opening frame. Kansas City would go on to win 15-7. Bundy’s ERA rose from 3.76 to 5.31.