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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Where we aren’t panicking about John Means...yet

It was a rocky return for Means, Lowther heads to the IL, and the historic broadcast goes great!

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Good morning Birdland,

Let’s talk about the positives first. Last night’s broadcast of the Orioles-Rays game was very cool! Each member of the historic all-woman presentation crew did a great job at being informative and entertaining. That is not always an easy balance to strike for any broadcast team, let alone one that does not work together day-to-day. I especially enjoyed Sarah Langs’ contribution as the color commentator. She clearly loves the sport of baseball, and that fact shone through time and time again. It makes a telecast more fun, even if your team isn’t doing so well.

Which brings us to the bad news. The Orioles did not play well. John Means looked rusty, failing to miss bats and leaving far too many fat pitches in the strike zone. Plus, his spin rate was down a bit from his last start, which took place prior to sticky stuff enforcement in MLB took effect. It’s not time to panic as there are several factors at work there, but it was not the most enjoyable John Means Day of the season. That’s for sure.

Links & Notes

Akin starting Wednesday | School of Roch
Keegan Akin might not be a long-term rotation fixture, but he should be better than the 8.19 ERA he has posted this season. His 4.93 FIP says as much. He has had some bad batted ball luck. Perhaps that turns around later this week.

Means’ issue in return: ‘Too many strikes’ |
To be fair, it’s not like this is the first time we have seen Means look like he is throwing batting practice rather than pitching. It happened a few times last season as he was working back from injury. The Orioles would be wise to take it easy on him for the remainder of the season, give him extra rest when able.

O’s option McKenna to make room for Means; Lowther goes to IL | Baltimore Baseball
Perhaps Zac Lowther has had such a poor season because this injury has been hampering him for an extended period of time. Provided that it’s not serious, that may be a good sign. The Orioles pitching issue is not going to be solved over the winter, and Lowther could be looked to as an internal solution.

Breaking down O’s most likely trade candidates ahead of deadline | The Baltimore Sun
There isn’t much to deal at the moment. If Freddy Galvis gets healthy, that would be a no-brainer, especially since Ramon Urías has proven so capable at shortstop in his absence. Moving Trey Mancini makes sense too, but the return is likely to be relatively light. And while bullpen help is always needed, the O’s most valuable players there all have years of control remaining, and it may be unwise to unload at this point.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday! You are joined by a big slate of former Orioles:

  • Wei-Yin Chen is 36. The left-handed pitcher was a crucial piece of competitive Orioles teams between 2012 and 2015. He had a 3.72 ERA over 706.2 innings as an O’s hurler.
  • Willie Eyre turns 43. The reliever appeared in 19 games with the 2011 O’s, posting a 3.44 ERA in those chances.
  • Mike Bordick celebrates his 56th birthday. The 14-year MLB veteran spent six total seasons in Baltimore from 1997 through 2000 and then again from 2001 through 2002 with a trade (that sent Melvin Mora to Baltimore) to the Mets in between. He was a member of the Orioles broadcast team for nearly a decade before being let go prior to the 2021 season.
  • Mark Williamson is 62 years old. His entire eight-season career was spent with the Orioles, where he had a 108 ERA+ working almost exclusively out of the bullpen from 1987 through 1994.
  • The late Moe Drabowsky (d. 2006) was born on this day in 1935. His MLB career spanned 17 season, four of which took place in Baltimore. From 1966 through 1968 and then again in 1970, Drabowsky was a Bird. He had a 2.33 ERA over 286 innings in the black and orange.

Orioles history

1990 - Former number one overall draft pick Ben McDonald makes his first career big league start, shutting out the White Sox 2-0. He is first American League debutant to record a shutout in 15 years.

1996 - The Orioles re-acquire future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray from Cleveland in exchange for pitcher Kent Mercker. Murray is only eight homers away from 500 for his career.

2000 - The Orioles win a game in Canada for the first time in over two years, a streak that lasted 20 games, by beating the Blue Jays in Toronto 9-5