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Saturday Bird Droppings: The final weekend of the first half

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The draft is nearly here, Harvey and Mountcastle are buds, and a concert is cancelled.

MLB: JUL 09 White Sox at Orioles Photo by John McCreary/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Don’t look now, but July is quickly becoming another awful month for the Orioles. They have won just once in six attempts, and a pitching matchup of Lucas Giolito and Thomas Eshelman later today doesn’t seem like a winning recipe. Stacey recapped last night’s 12-1 thumping at the hands of the White Sox, a game in which the only Orioles pitcher that didn’t give up a run was Pat Valaika, basically this team’s version of Shohei Ohtani.

The thing about last night’s poor performance was that, for a couple players, it was simply a continuation of struggles they have been happening all season long, and something has got to give.

Jorge López will look lights out for four innings and through the order for the first two times, and then he will fall apart in the fifth inning. That is exactly what happened again on Friday, although his ERA is back under 6.00.

Cesar Valdez was quite bad once again, allowing three runs on three hits, a walk, and a strikeout in just one inning of work. Maybe you can swallow a bloated ERA from a guy that gives you tons of innings, but a middle reliever with a 6.91 ERA is tough to justify, even on this team.

But let’s not be all negative here. How about Ramon Urías? He has been a pleasant surprise since taking over the everyday shortstop gig from an injured Freddy Galvis. He homered last night in a 2-for-4 performance that has his season OPS up to .830. This isn’t to say he is the “shortstop of the future” or whatever, but he might be good enough to give him the job for 2022 while guys like Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg continue to develop. Of course, there remains plenty of time to evaluate before a decision like that needs to be made. In the meantime, just enjoy some nice offense from an unexpected source.

Links

Hyde on rotation and Elias on upcoming draft | School of Roch
As expected, Mike Elias said nothing particularly interesting about the draft with the first round just a couple of days away. He mentioned that basically every player under the sun is being considered for the Orioles at five. Fortunately, the wait is nearly over as we will know the identity of the team’s first-round pick before the weekend is over.

An Unlikely Friendship | Orioles.com
Some fun little anecdotes in here about Ryan Mountcastle and Hunter Harvey being pals. They play video games together, make fun of each other, and just basically take part in classic bromance shenanigans.

From Cal Ripken Jr. to Mark Trumbo, here’s how Orioles stars have fared at the Home Run Derby | The Baltimore Sun
Trey Mancini got a tough first-round draw against Matt Olson. The Athletics’ first baseman has a swing that looks made for a home run derby. But Mancini will hold his own, and the fact that the balls for the derby will not be placed in the Coors Field humidor prior to the competition should make things even more interesting.

Orioles cancel Diplo postgame concert | Orioles.com
The DJ that was scheduled to perform at Camden Yards later this month has been accused of sexual assault twice in recent weeks. Anyone that purchased on-field tickets for the even will be refunded.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Josh Rogers turns 27 today. One piece of the return package that sent Zack Britton to the Yankees, Rogers appeared in eight games for the O’s between 2018 and ‘19. Arm injuries stifled his ability to stick on the team’s 40-man roster, and he is now in the Nationals’ minor league system.
  • David Hess celebrates his 28th birthday. The right-handed pitcher bounced up and down for the Orioles from 2018 through 2020, making his way into 47 games. After some time spent in the Rays organization earlier this year, Hess is now back in the bigs as a member of the Marlins bullpen.
  • Johnny Giavotella is 34 today. The second baseman played in seven games for the 2017 Birds and has not made it back to the majors since.
  • Happy 52nd birthday to Marty Cordova. The outfielder spent 2002 and ‘03 with the Orioles, slashing .252/.331/.430 in that time. But the most memorable factoid from his time in town is that he once got “injured” after falling asleep in a tanning bed and getting burnt.
  • Buddy Groom turns 56. The left-handed reliever spent five seasons with the O’s from 2000 through 2004. It was the best stretch of his 14-season career as he compiled a 3.91 ERA, 18 saves, and a 115 ERA+ while playing for the Birds.
  • Bob Bailor is 70 years old. The utility player started his big league career with a 14-game cameo on the O’s split between 1975 and ‘76. He would play another nine seasons with the Blue Jays, Mets, and Dodgers.

This day in history

1968 - Hank Bauer is fired as Orioles manager during the All-Star break. His O’s were 43-37 and 10.5 games back of the Detroit Tigers. Bauer’s successor would be named the following day as the team’s first base coach, Earl Weaver, would take over the manager’s job.

2001 - Cal Ripken Jr. is named MVP of his final career All-Star Game. The future Hall of Famer homers as the AL beats the NL 4-1 in Seattle.