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Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles’ second half begins tonight

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You thought the first half of Orioles baseball was bad? There’s not much help on the horizon for the rest of the season.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It was kind of nice to have a break from the Orioles for a while, wasn’t it? I mean, I know they’re our favorite baseball team and all, but they’re also just, like, the worst. We watch them, but do we really enjoy it?

In any case, they’re back in action tonight to begin their post-All-Star schedule, starting with a six-game road trip through Kansas City and Tampa Bay. At 28-61, the O’s are currently on pace to finish 51-111, and frankly that feels optimistic. Their rotation is a trainwreck. Their bullpen has, at most, one reliable pitcher. They don’t hit or field particularly well. In any given week, you’re lucky if they play two competitive games. It ain’t pretty.

And it’s hard to see things taking an upturn in the second half. Sure, the expected returns of John Means and Bruce Zimmermann should help, but beyond that, there’s not a ton of help on the horizon. My preseason prediction that we’d see Adley Rutschman in the majors by July is looking laughably wrong, and now it’s unlikely we’ll see him at all in 2021. At this rate, we won’t even see Jahmai Jones. Extreme slow-playing of prospects is kind of the Orioles’ thing.

So this roster that confounds and frustrates us on a nightly basis will likely remain mostly unchanged for the rest of the season. The cavalry’s not coming, at least not this year. The most intriguing story line for the rest of 2021 might be the Orioles’ pursuit of the #1 overall draft pick in 2022. The putrid Diamondbacks are currently “leading” that race with a league-worst 26-66 record, 3.5 games worse than the Orioles. But there’s a lot of baseball left to be played, and played poorly.

What about you, Camden Chatters? What do you expect we’ll see from the Orioles in the second half?

Links

Underachieving Oriole prospects key reason for 1st-half underperformance - BaltimoreBaseball.com
One of the most disappointing aspects of this dismal O’s season is that the prospects who were expected to contribute this season — particularly the pitchers — have almost all crashed and burned. It’s probably worth mentioning that those prospects were all acquired by the previous regime.

Non-roster players keep getting chances with Orioles - School of Roch
I feel like...that’s not a good thing. It kind of signifies a lack of depth on the 40-man roster if players can just keep getting added and removed with no issues.

The O’s ‘21 draft class of pitchers looks a lot like 2019 - Steve Melewski
We’ll have to wait and see whether the Orioles’ strategy of not picking pitchers until the later half of the draft will pay off. But as Steve Melewski points out, the pitchers they selected with that strategy in 2019 are having some success in the low levels of the system.

Historic all-female broadcast crew will call Orioles vs. Rays game - CBSSports.com
At long last, a reason to watch a 2021 Orioles game. This is incredibly cool, and I can’t wait to tune in.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your lone Orioles birthday buddy is 1966-67 right-hander Eddie Fisher, who turns 85 today. Fisher posted a 3.18 ERA and 15 saves in 90 relief appearances.

The last time the Orioles won on this date was in 2016, a 2-1 victory in Tampa Bay. J.J. Hardy’s second-inning, two-run homer provided the Birds’ only runs of the game, but they held up thanks to a stellar O’s pitching effort. Starter Chris Tillman worked seven strong frames and Brad Brach and Zack Britton each pitched a perfect inning of relief. The Birds didn’t allow a hit after the fourth inning.

On this day in 1967, the Orioles also pulled off a 2-1 victory, but it took them 14 innings at Yankee Stadium to do so. Trailing 1-0 in the ninth, the O’s tied the game on Brooks Robinson’s leadoff homer, and five innings later Curt Blefary roped a go-ahead RBI double. Three Orioles pitchers combined to hold the Yankees to four hits.

And on this date in 2013, three Orioles were in the starting lineup for the American League All-Star team. When’s the next time that will happen? First baseman Chris Davis batted cleanup and went 1-for-3, center fielder Adam Jones batted seventh and contributed a double, and Hardy, the shortstop, batted ninth and had an RBI groundout to score Jones. A fourth Oriole, Manny Machado, came off the bench to play third base, while Tillman also made the team but didn’t pitch.