How ‘bout dem O’s? Things are so much more fun when the Orioles win! They’re even more fun when the team pulls off an unlikely sweep of the team that had the best record in the American League before this series, the Astros. The O’s closed out the sweep with a 5-2 win last night, their first sweep of the Astros since 2008 and first sweep in Houston in the lifespan of the current Astros stadium. Check out Alex’s recap of the game for the lovely totals. The Orioles reward is a scheduled day off.
This is just another demonstration of the saying, “You’re never as good as you look when you’re winning, or as bad as you look when you’re losing.” The Orioles have looked very, very bad at many points in the 2021 season.
Yet even this deep rebuilding roster with several underperforming players and many more who had no expectations to underperform to begin with is not “get blown out embarrassingly every game” bad. Even a team rolling out a double play combination of Domingo Leyba and Ramón Urías can go into Houston like Miley Cyrus’s figurative wrecking ball and leave a team that used to have over a .600 winning percentage scratching their heads about what just happened.
Probably Houston will be just fine, and probably the Orioles will go back to being bad. As far as this series went, the O’s convincingly dominated. We’ve got to enjoy all of the MLB success that we can. Don’t think too much about how the Diamondbacks lost again yesterday and the O’s are six games ahead of them in the loss column.
With the sweep, the Orioles are now 27-54 in the 2021 season. That’s a .333 winning percentage, putting them on pace for the same record they had in 2019: 54-108. They finished the month of June at 10-17. It’s not good, but hey, it’s better than May. After the day off, they will be out in California to play the Angels. Friday’s game is scheduled to get underway at 9:37 Eastern, with Keegan Akin starting the game for the O’s.
The series-closing win could have some lingering effects. While chasing down a pop-up that was eventually caught by Ryan McKenna for the final out of the game, Maikel Franco slipped on the warning track in foul territory and went down awkwardly. At least he’s got the day to rest whatever it was. He looked to be pointing towards his ankle and eventually walked off the field gingerly after the the game was over.
Around the blogO’sphere
More on Lakins’ elbow and Watkins’ arrival in majors (School of Roch)
There was a flurry of roster moves yesterday made, as many have been this year, to reinforce the bullpen. Along with Stevie Wilkerson being DFA’d, that flurry included pitcher Spenser Watkins getting his first call to the majors at age 28. He got a little emotional speaking about the call-up with Orioles reporters. Hopefully his eventual debut goes better than it did for Konner Wade and Mickey Jannis.
Rutschman set to play in 2021 Futures Game (Orioles.com)
The Orioles will have two minor leaguers on the AL Futures Game roster. Adley Rutschman is obvious. The other is reliever Marcos Diplán. That second one is a mystery to me.
Law: The Futures Game is loaded with top 100 prospects (The Athletic)
In his analysis of the Futures Game roster, The Athletic’s Keith Law says that the Orioles didn’t agree to let either Grayson Rodriguez or DL Hall pitch in the game. They were both on the roster back in 2019.
Why Grayson Rodriguez approaches each start like he’s ‘the worst pitching prospect’ (Press Box Online)
Here’s a mentality I’ve never heard a pitching prospect express before. It seems to be working for Rodriguez.
Feeling a draft: Jim Callis on the O’s at No. 5 (Steve Melewski)
MLB’s Jim Callis thinks the Orioles would like to draft either Henry Davis or Jack Leiter, and only if both of those players are unavailable will they explore alternate, possibly uncommonly-traveled avenues. We’ll find out in ten days.
Mock draft: Jonathan Mayo’s latest take on the first round (MLB Pipeline)
Callis’s colleague Jonathan Mayo filed a post-College World Series mock draft last night. His mock sees both Leiter and Davis gone before the Orioles pick, so he mocks the Orioles as selecting North Carolina high school shortstop Kahlil Watson.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1967, Jim Palmer made a rehab start for the Rochester Red Wings and gave up a grand slam to Johnny Bench, then playing for the Buffalo Bisons. As we all know, at the MLB level, Palmer never allowed a salami.
In 1982, Cal Ripken Jr. was moved from third base to shortstop, where he remained for every game until shifting back to third base for a handful of games in 1996.
There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2014 slugger Nelson Cruz, and 2007-09 reliever Jamie Walker.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Estée Lauder Companies founder Estée Lauder (1906), actress Olivia de Havilland (1916), actor Dan Akroyd (1952), gold medal Olympian Carl Lewis (1961), and rapper Missy Elliott (1971).
On this day in history...
In 1846, the saxophone was patented by its inventor, Adolphe Sax.
In 1863, Union and Confederate forces ran into one another in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania. The three-day battle eventually turned into the most costly in casualties of any battle in American history.
In 1898, during the Spanish-American War, the two sides fought the Battle of San Juan Hill in Cuba. The American victory was recognized as the greatest of future president Theodore Roosevelt’s Rough Riders and paved the way for a Spanish withdrawal from Cuba.
In 1916, British and French armies launched an attack on the Germans lined up along the Somme River. The first day of the battle alone cost the lives of 19,240 British soldiers.
In 1963, the US Postal Service introduced ZIP codes.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 1. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!