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Friday Bird Droppings: Now featuring the worst Orioles losing streak since 1988

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Manager Brandon Hyde said after the latest loss, “Just right now we’re not even in the game.” That about sums it up.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays
Hard same.
Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

This is now the worst losing streak in the entire lifetime of anyone born after the 1988 season. Even for a child of 1983 like myself, I have no memory of that team at all. It happened. Maybe some of the adults I was around may have said something about it in my hearing. But it had no effect on me and it made no impact on my memory of being four years old. The 15-game losing streak of 2021 is one that might stick out just a little bit more.

You kind of run out of ways to express how terrible this all is. The Orioles “only” gave up seven runs yesterday and that felt like some kind of progress because it wasn’t nine or ten runs. The O’s have now given up 8.5 runs per game for the month of August, in which they are 1-16. In that same stretch of time, they are scoring 3.2 runs per game. Yeah, that’s how a team ends up losing 15 games in a row. It’s not happening by accident.

One of the only silver linings to all of this losing remains that at least now the Orioles have fallen into the #1 draft pick position for next year. The previously-worst Diamondbacks have followed up an 11-12 July with an 8-9 record in August so far.

The result is that Arizona is now up to a 41-81 record. That’s horrible, a 54-108 pace over a full season. It’s just that the Orioles, at 38-82, are more horrible. They’re now on pace to go 51-111. Just, yuck. Of course it’s worked out this way, though. Almost no one is pitching well. Almost no one is consistently hitting well. The result is... this.

The best-hitting Oriole remains Cedric Mullins. One chase that is still worth keeping an eye on, at least unless he slumps out of the picture, is whether Mullins can be the first Orioles AL hits leader since Cal Ripken Jr.’s MVP season in 1983. Mullins took a one hit lead over the Angels’ David Fletcher into yesterday’s games. Mullins had one hit and Fletcher had two, so they wake up today tied. It’ll be nice if Mullins can have a solid individual accomplishment for O’s fans to celebrate in this lost season.

Other than him, our eyes must remain turned to the minors for the hope of a better tomorrow in Birdland. August has gone well for at least one prospect, as Rylan Bannon cracked another two home runs as part of a four-hit game last night to give him eight dingers in his last seven games. Between an early season injury and pre-August poor performance, Bannon looked like he might be on the way to a washout without ever making it to MLB.

Now Bannon seems to be scorching hot, and as long as Maikel Franco continues to hit extremely poorly while seeming to have little in the way of lateral speed to field baseballs, it’s going to feel tempting to fans to see the hot prospect replace the struggling veteran who can’t even be traded if he heats back up from now until year’s end.

As for the big league Orioles, they next get a crack at Atlanta. This team had not been above .500 all season before winning on August 5. They now sit in first place, with a four-game edge over the Phillies. It must be nice to be in the NL East. They probably feel like it must be nice to get a three-game set against the Orioles this weekend.

Maybe the O’s can at least find a way to win one and halt this losing streak. Or maybe not. Keegan Akin is set to start tonight’s 7:05 opener. The team is 1-9 in his starts this season. Not much hope there! Pitching for Atlanta will be Max Fried, who has a 3.78 ERA for the year. I sure hope everyone who paid money to attend is satisfied with their Boog Powell giveaway t-shirts. The on-field Orioles may not offer much else to make you feel like you’re getting value out of going to Camden Yards.

Around the blogO’sphere

Brandon Hyde on players and staff during losing streak (Steve Melewski)
“Everybody in there has something to play for” over the home stretch of the season, said Hyde. He’s not wrong. The Orioles problem is that few of the guys are playing like they deserve another chance in 2022.

López removed early as losing streak hits 15 games (School of Roch)
There’s some read between the lines stuff going on here regarding the health of Jorge López’s son and whether that may be impacting his performance. Best wishes to the López family if that’s what is going on.

The dirty little secret of the Orioles rebuild is the pitching cupboard’s nearly bare (The Athletic)
Dan Connolly has found some other teams scouts who are willing to stake out the bold claim that pitching prospects below Grayson Rodriguez and DL Hall aren’t nearly as good.

For prospect Blaine Knight, infant son adds motivation (Press Box)
“Player finds inspiration in becoming a parent to achieve new success” is always a great narrative when it happens. I hope Blaine Knight is good enough to make it happen.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1996-2000 outfielder Gene Kingsale, and 1955-59 pitcher George Zuverink.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: 23rd president Benjamin Harrison (1833), Cthulhu creator H.P. Lovecraft (1890), Led Zeppelin frontman Robert Plant (1948), rapper KRS-One (1965), actress Amy Adams (1974), and singer-songwriter Demi Lovato (1992).

On this day in history...

In 636, the Rashidun Caliphate defeated a Byzantine army in the Battle of the Yarmuk, paving the way for Arab conquest of the Levant (Eastern Mediterranean) region.

In 1882, Tchaikovsky’s composition 1812 Overture premiered in Moscow. In spite of its origin celebrating a Russian victory over the French, it remains a popular piece of music in America on the 4th of July.

In 1940, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill delivered one of his famous wartime speeches. “Never was so much owed by so many to so few” referred to the efforts of British fighter pilots trying to fight off repeated German air attacks.

In 1988, a ceasefire was reached between Iran and Iraq, ending eight years of war. Elsewhere in the world, an IRA bomb killed eight British soldiers and wounded another 28 as they sat on a bus in Northern Ireland.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 20. Have a safe Friday. Go O’s!