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Monday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are enjoying June

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A new month has brought a new beginning for the Birds, who are already just one win shy of their May total.

Cleveland Indians v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s been quite a lovely month of June, hasn’t it?

Oh, sure, it’s gotten swelteringly hot in these parts the last few days. And those screeching, dive-bombing cicadas are swarming everywhere. And that pesky pandemic is still lingering. Those things aren’t very lovely.

But for the Orioles? June has been an absolute blast so far.

After finishing a brutal, 5-23 month of May on a 14-game losing streak, it’s like the Birds flipped a switch as soon as the calendar page turned. They’ve won four of their five games this month, tied for the best record in baseball in that (admittedly tiny) sample size. The O’s not only snapped their epic skid but have won back-to-back home series for the first time since 2018. And they’re no longer the worst team in the majors. (Thanks, Diamondbacks.)

Yesterday brought their most emphatic win yet, an 18-5 pasting of Cleveland in which the O’s offense reached heights not seen since 2015. The Birds scored as many runs in that game as they did in the last seven games of their losing streak put together. Check out my recap for all the fantastic details, and don’t forget to vote in the Most Birdland Player poll, which has turned into a blowout of its own.

Tonight the Birds get their second off day of the homestand before welcoming the New York Mets to Baltimore for a quick two-game series. The last time the O’s faced them, the Mets swept them in two games at Citi Field last month.

Still, that was last month. This month, it seems, anything is possible. And perhaps the Birds can exact some revenge.

Links

Orioles score 18 runs in win over Indians; Mullins stays hot; Means’ MRI shows no structural damage - BaltimoreBaseball.com
John Means’ MRI was clean, which obviously is good news for the Orioles. Let’s just hope his shoulder strain won’t be the kind of thing that bothers him off and on for the rest of the season.

Cedric Mullins nearly ties club mark for consecutive hits - Orioles.com
Joe Trezza breaks down each hit of Mullins’ nine-at-bat streak, which included both his longest career homer and his hardest-hit career homer. Do you think he's seeing the ball well?

David Samson Says Now Is The Time For Orioles To Trade John Means - PressBoxOnline.com
In case you’re wondering what a guy who was once the first person voted out of Survivor thinks about the Orioles’ rebuild, here you go.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day: 1968 right-hander Roger Nelson (77), 1999 righty Heathcliff Slocumb (55), and 2000-02 outfielder/first baseman Chris Richard (47).

On this date in 1998, the Orioles paid tribute to Eddie Murray’s legendary O’s career by retiring his number 33 in a ceremony at Camden Yards. He joined Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson, Jim Palmer, and Earl Weaver in having his number retired by the Birds, with Cal Ripken Jr. later joining them.

On this day in 2010, the O’s made a decision that altered the course of their franchise for the better, selecting an 18-year-old Florida high school shortstop named Manny Machado with the third overall pick in the amateur draft. Yeah, that worked out pretty well. By WAR, Machado has been the second-best player (41.7) from that draft, behind only No. 13 pick Chris Sale (45.5), and the O’s made three postseason appearances during his seven years in Baltimore.

The Orioles have a recent history of playing dramatic, last at-bat games on this date. Each of their last three games played on June 7 — in 2019, 2018, and 2017 — ended with a walkoff, extra-innings win for the home team. In the former two cases, the Birds were the losers — falling in Houston in 2019 and Toronto in 2018 — but 2017 was a thrilling victory at Camden Yards in which Trey Mancini twice played the hero. With the O’s trailing the Pirates 6-2 in the ninth, they rallied for four runs, capped by Mancini’s pinch-hit, two-out, two-run homer, to force extras. Two innings later, Mancini batted with two aboard and crushed another home run (off his future O’s teammate Wade LeBlanc), sealing a 9-6, 11-inning walkoff.