There’s nothing quite like the Orioles facing a top-tier team to really illustrate how far they have to go to get to the summit. Monday’s series opener against the Astros was quite a reminder. The O’s combined some bad pitching, bad hitting, and bad defense to add another loss to the season’s tally. Check out Tyler’s recap of the game for the not-so-lovely totals.
One of the many things that stands out in comparing the two rosters is that Houston fielded a lineup on Monday night where seven of their nine hitters brought an OPS of .800 or better into the game. Seven! The Orioles entered Monday’s play with two hitters above that level - Cedric Mullins and Trey Mancini.
The difference in quality is stark, and it really showed in how the O’s offense performed against Houston’s worst-performing starting pitcher, Jake Odorizzi. The former Ray entered the game with a 5.68 ERA for the 2021 season to date. Odorizzi carried a perfect game into the fifth inning after retiring the first 13 Orioles in a row, and exited the game after five due to pitch count with a no-hitter intact. Just terrible!
Things got worse since the Orioles still did not have a hit by the time last night’s torrential downpour resumed in the eighth inning and the game had to be delayed again. This was only after incompetent umpires waited five minutes too long to call for the delay, so the field got wrecked. By the time the O’s finally did get a hit, it was minutes to midnight. Thank you, Maikel Franco, for keeping us from history. Stevie Wilkerson also got a hit, which felt much less dramatic. No one really cares when a combined one-hitter becomes a combined two-hitter.
What the game ALSO showed in how that high-powered offense performed against one of the Orioles pitchers who fans have been hoping might be part of a future good rotation. Keegan Akin got wrecked. It wasn’t all his fault. He had some bad luck and his defense made some bad plays, and then he gave up a three-run home run. It was reminiscent of the Orioles version of Jake Arrieta.
This was the 17th time this year that the Orioles were blown out by five or more runs. That is to say they have suffered a blowout loss in nearly a quarter of their games to date. One runs out of different ways to say that this is not much fun. Broken record or not, it is still not much fun.
The baseball world will be abuzz for a completely different Franco today. The Tampa Bay Rays are calling up the #1 prospect in the game, Wander Franco, who will become the first player born in 2001 to debut in MLB. Yes, we are all marching steadily towards obsolescence.
Not so much excitement for the game in Baltimore tonight. The Orioles will take another crack at the Astros. Jorge López will quest again to find his Dulcinea in the sixth inning. Probably no one will have very high hopes against this Houston lineup. Zack Greinke is expected to pitch for the Astros, which, you know. The guy has a 3.74 ERA in 15 starts so far in 2021. He is probably a lot better than the Orioles lineup. Hopefully they break up the no-hitter before the eighth inning this time.
Around the blogO’sphere
Valdez on injured list, Santander updates ankle, and more (School of Roch)
Anthony Santander had the night off last night to rest his injured ankle. He told reporters through an interpreter that it’s getting better. I don’t know if that’s visible in the results just yet.
What O’s fans should expect in the 2021 draft (Orioles.com)
The experts will be less surprised this year than last if the Orioles go underslot, but they don’t think it’s a sure thing quite yet.
On steep rebuilding climb, every Orioles setback feels significant. This week was full of them. (The Baltimore Sun)
The Sun’s Jon Meoli has turned a pitiless gaze to the Orioles rebuilding project a number of times. Here is another one.
Westburg eyeing future as Orioles shortstop (Baltimore Baseball)
There seems to be a decent competition for Orioles shortstop of two or three years in the future and beyond. Hopefully a good number of the competitors stay in the race by continuing to climb up the minor league ladder, as Jordan Westburg has already done this year.
O’s Matt Blood on Gunnar Henderson’s move up and more on the farm (Steve Melewski)
And speaking of people vying to be the shortstop of three years in the future and beyond, Gunnar Henderson is moving up to Aberdeen, where he’ll join Westburg until one of them (probably Westburg) moves up again. Farm director Matt Blood said the team is “just trying to move players to where they are going to be challenged appropriately.”
Are high draft picks getting to the majors faster than ever? (The Athletic)
Some interesting general baseball stuff in here, with this specific finding that’s relevant to Orioles fans after the last couple of years of draft picks: “If a college player hasn’t debuted within three years of his draft date, the odds of him becoming even a solid regular are pretty slim, and the odds of him becoming a star are close to nil.”
To be determined how much pandemic delays change this calculus, but I think we’ll see Adley Rutschman before next June in any case. Heston Kjerstad, on the other hand, is not looking likely to debut in MLB before June 2023.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1962, Boog Powell hit a game-tying home run that cleared the center field hedge at Memorial Stadium, the first time anyone had ever done this. Boog’s homer, estimated at 469 feet, was part of a 4-3 Orioles victory in the nightcap of a doubleheader against the Red Sox.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2018 six-game infielder Engelb Vielma, 2001 nine-game outfielder Willie Harris, 1996-97 seven-game pitcher Esteban Yan, 1996 three-game pitcher Brian Sackinsky, 1978 outfielder Mike Anderson, and 1961-67 outfielder Russ Snyder. Today is Snyder’s 87th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: Pacific Northwest explorer George Vancouver (1757), soldier and author Erich Maria Remarque (1898), Masking tape inventor Richard Gurley Drew (1899), Baseball Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell (1903), author Octavia Butler (1947), actress Meryl Streep (1949), and basketball Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler (1962).
On this day in history...
In 1633, Galileo Galilei was forced by the Catholic Church in Rome to recant his position that the Sun, rather than the Earth, is the center of the universe.
In 1941, Nazi Germany launched Operation Barbarossa, its invasion of the Soviet Union, which opened up the Eastern Front in Europe during World War II. Historic estimates are that 30 million people died in and around the fighting on the Eastern Front by war’s end.
In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught fire.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on June 22. Have a safe Tuesday. Go O’s!