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Monday Bird Droppings: Where we’re basking in an Orioles sweep

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The O’s may have helped put the nail in the 2021 Nationals’ coffin this weekend, so they’ve got that going for them.

MLB: Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

You know, for a last-place team that’s 30 games under .500, the Orioles do have some occasional spunk.

The Birds made mincemeat of their interleague regional rivals this weekend, capping a three-game sweep of the Battle of the Beltways with yesterday’s 5-4, walkoff win over the Nationals. Tyler Young recapped all the excitement of the Orioles’ first win this season when trailing after eight innings.

Even if the Birds don’t have much to play for this year, they can take some joy in ruining other teams’ seasons, which they may well have just done to the Nats. Washington entered the series as a team on the bubble of contention — five games under .500 but just six games out of first place in the NL East — and could have garnered some momentum with a sweep or at least a series win over the woeful Birds.

Instead, the Orioles blew them out of the water, which likely will force the Nats to become sellers rather than buyers at this Friday’s trade deadline. Expect the Nationals to put many of their veterans on the market in the coming days, possibly including Max Scherzer. And it was the O’s who drove the final nail into their coffins. #sorrynotsorry

None of this makes the Orioles a good team or has any real effect on the success of their 2021 season. But in the midst of such a dismal campaign, it’s nice to have something to celebrate every so often.

Links

Means works into seventh and O’s rally for 5-4 win (updated) - School of Roch
Brandon Hyde, Ryan McKenna, and others share their thoughts on the Orioles’ exciting win. It’d be nice if this got them rolling on a nice little streak for the next few weeks, but I don’t think we’re holding our breath.

Myriad Orioles Thoughts: John Means’ outing; crowded rotation; bad replay calls – The Athletic
Among other notes, Dan Connolly opines that the Orioles now have a logjam in the rotation with more starting pitchers than spots. Can it be considered a “logjam” when almost all the options are terrible? More like a twigjam, am I right?

Nationals get swept by Orioles ahead of trade deadline - The Washington Post
If you’re wondering how the Nationals are feeling about getting swept by the Orioles, well, not great!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 29th birthday to O’s reliever Paul Fry. The honorary member of #teampaul has been a pretty good story since the Birds acquired him, almost as an afterthought, in a 2017 trade for international bonus slot money that they weren’t going to use anyway. Fry has since made 162 appearances in four years for the Orioles, emerging as a valuable, late-inning bullpen piece. With the trade deadline four days away, this could be his final week as an Oriole.

Fry is one of a whopping eight players in Orioles history with a July 26 birthday. Of the others, the most prominent is Hall of Fame knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm (b. 1922, d. 2002), who spent four full seasons with the Birds from 1959-62 and was an All-Star in three of them, winning the AL ERA title in 1959. Wilhelm spent 21 years in the majors despite not debuting until he was 29.

The other Orioles with birthdays today: relievers Vidal Nuno and Alex Burnett (who both turn 34), outfielder Pete Ward (84), and the late Lou Jackson (b. 1935, d. 1969), Norm Siebern (b. 1933, d. 2015), and Bill Miller (b. 1927, d. 2003).

On this date in 1970, Boog Powell drove in six runs, including a grand slam, in an 11-1 O’s blowout of the Twins. At the time, it gave Powell the AL lead in RBIs with 86; he would ultimately finish the season with 114 ribbies, third-most in the league, and took home the AL MVP award. Meanwhile, Dave McNally iced the Twins with a complete game, and the only run he allowed came on a homer by opposing pitcher Jim Perry.

On this day in 1974, the O’s had a dramatic win in Cleveland. Trailing by three in the ninth, the O’s tied the game on a two-out home run by Paul Blair, then scored four in the top of the 11th to secure the victory. The game-winning run was driven in by leadoff man Rich Coggins, who went 5-for-6.

And on this day in 1980, O’s righty Steve Stone beat the Brewers, 4-1, to win his 14th straight decision and improve to 16-3. Stone would go on to notch an MLB-best 25 victories to earn AL Cy Young honors.