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Tuesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles’ losing streak is becoming historic

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The O’s have matched the second-longest skid in franchise history. Next stop: 21 in a row?

Minnesota Twins v Baltimore Orioles
Even Adam Plutko can’t bear to watch this team.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Well, let’s give the Orioles this: they’re making history. Unfortunately, it’s in all the wrong ways.

A return to Camden Yards on Memorial Day did nothing to halt the Birds’ disastrous slide, as a tight game inevitably turned into excruciating defeat, their 14th in a row. Mark Brown recapped yet another stupid loss.

The 14-game losing streak is tied for the second longest in club history, matching the ignominious feat of the inaugural 1954 Orioles. That team was truly, breathtakingly bad, as was to be expected from a franchise that compiled eight straight losing seasons in its waning days as the St. Louis Browns before relocating.

Like the 2021 Orioles, those 1954 O’s carried a largely threadbare roster of placeholders who would be long gone the next time the club was a contender. The Orioles spent much of that ‘54 season jettisoning the Browns holdovers while trying to form a new identity in Charm City. Of the 38 players on the 1954 roster, only one (pitcher Billy O’Dell) was still on the club three years later.

The 14-game streak by the ‘54 Orioles, which occurred from Aug. 11 to 25, was already their third losing streak that year of nine or more games, not to mention a separate stretch in which they went 3-19. During the 14-game slide, those Orioles collectively batted .219/.286/.309 and scored just 22 total runs, getting held to three or fewer in all but one game. They were horrific with runners in scoring position, just like this year’s club, and went 14-for-85 in such situations. Their pitching staff compiled a 5.25 ERA, with starters Bob Kuzava, Bob Turley, and Joe Coleman each losing three games during the skid. Orioles righty Don Larsen, future World Series perfect-game thrower for the Yankees, lost two games during that stretch as part of a 3-21 season for him.

Here we are, 67 years later, watching a team look just as inept and pitiful — perhaps more so — than that ramshackle group that first arrived in Baltimore. With a loss tonight, the 2021 O’s would hold sole possession of the second-longest losing streak in club history, leaving them six losses away from matching the 1988 Orioles’ infamous season-opening 21-game slide.

The Orioles just finished May with a 5-23 record, tied for their third-worst month in club history, according to MLB.com’s Joe Trezza. Perhaps June will bring them a fresh start, but it’s hard to see how things will drastically improve. The O’s lineup regularly includes three or four players who probably shouldn’t be starting for a major league team. Their rotation is a disaster. Their fatigued bullpen is falling apart at the seams. And there’s nobody readily available in the minors to stem the tide, barring a surprise promotion of, say, Adley Rutschman or DL Hall.

So, strap in, folks. The skid won’t last forever, but the losing baseball won’t be going away anytime soon.

Links

O’s trying to ‘turn the page’ as streak hits 14 - MLB.com
If the O’s had to do this every time they lost a game, there’d be more pages to turn than War and Peace.

Orioles option Chance Sisco to Norfolk, add catcher Austin Wynns; Richie Martin goes on 60-day injured list - BaltimoreBaseball.com
In his first game with the Orioles this year, Austin Wynns couldn’t corral a wild pitch that scored the go-ahead run for the Twins, then struck out with the tying and winning runs aboard in the 10th. He’s already fitting right in!

Orioles evaluating players while trying to stop their losing streak - School of Roch
I think I can venture a guess on how those evaluations are going.

Wish Fulfilled For Baltimore Orioles Fan June Auer’s 100th Birthday – CBS Baltimore
This story is so adorable that I’ll refrain from making a crack like, “She’s the only person old enough to remember the Orioles’ last win.”

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have two Orioles birthday buddies: 2019 righty Tayler (not Tanner) Scott, who turns 29, and the late Ray Moore (b. 1926, d. 1995), a Maryland native who pitched three years with the Orioles from 1955-57.

On this day in 1975, the Orioles were the victim of Nolan Ryan’s record-tying fourth no-hitter, as the Angels righty dominated them for a 1-0 victory at Anaheim Stadium. Ryan would go on to pitch three more no-nos in his Hall of Fame career to stake sole claim of the all-time record.

Historically, June 1 has been a rough day for the Birds, who are 22-32 all-time on this date. Their last win came in 2017, when they bashed four home runs off former O’s farmhand Eduardo Rodriguez — by Mark Trumbo, Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and Jonathan Schoop — while Wade Miley threw seven innings of one-run ball to beat the Red Sox, 7-5.