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Monday Bird Droppings: Where the pain never stops for the Orioles

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With their 18th straight loss yesterday, the O’s have the seventh longest streak in the last century. There’s no end in sight to the suffering.

MLB: Atlanta Braves at Baltimore Orioles Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Well, folks, I’ll start with some good news: the Orioles won’t lose a game today. That’s only because they don’t play a game today.

Once they get back into action tomorrow, though, look out. With 18 straight losses and counting, the Orioles are in the midst of one of the worst losing streaks in anyone’s lifetime. Their brutal stretch of ineptitude is nearly unprecedented in baseball history. In the last 100 years, only six teams have suffered losing streaks longer than the Orioles’ current skid. One was another notably woeful Birds team, the 1988 squad that started 0-21. That legendarily awful club finished the season with a 54-107 record, a mark that frankly seems championship caliber compared to where the 2021 Orioles will likely end up.

The O’s have been swept in five consecutive series, with the Braves the latest team to do the honors with a 3-1 decision in Sunday’s finale. Stacey recapped the latest lackluster loss from the historically abysmal Orioles.

So where do the O’s go from here? You’d like to think there’s nowhere to go but up, but the Birds have proven, day after day, that that’s certainly not the case. After 18 days of saying, “Well, we can’t lose ‘em all, right?” the joke starts to lose all meaning.

After today’s much-needed off day, the Birds face former Oriole Dylan Bundy and the Angels on Tuesday, where a loss would tie them with the 1975 Tigers and 2005 Royals. Another defeat against starting pitcher/slugger Shohei Ohtani on Wednesday would get the Birds to 20, and if they get swept again on Thursday, the Orioles will have equaled their ignominious feat from 1988, a record we thought (and hoped) could never be matched.

And after the Angels series, the O’s play their next nine games against winning AL East clubs, starting with the Rays, who have won 15 of their 16 matchups with the Orioles this year. The modern major league record of futility, the 23-game losing streak by the 1961 Phillies, is very much within reach. Those are words I never thought I’d be typing, but here we are.

At this point, the Orioles might as well go for the all-time record. Nothing matters anymore. If you’re going to be jaw-droppingly abysmal, be the best at it. You know? Maybe one day, if the Orioles are perennial contenders with the elite pipeline of talent that Mike Elias has promised, we can all look back at this and laugh. For now, we just hope to survive.

Links

O’s streak hits 18: ‘We’re not executing’ - Orioles.com
The headline makes me think of that classic John McKay quote when asked what he thought of his team’s execution: “I’m in favor of it.”

Connolly: With 18 straight losses, all the Orioles can do is try to learn from this nightmare – The Athletic
What is there to learn? Don’t lose 18 games in a row? Don’t get outscored by 102 runs in those games? If the Orioles didn’t already know those things were bad, they’ve got bigger problems than a losing streak.

Thoughts on decision to put López in bullpen - School of Roch
On any other team, Jorge Lopez would have been shifted to the bullpen a long time ago, but a lack of viable starting pitchers kept him in the O's rotation until August. He’s off to a good start in relief, though, with a scoreless ninth inning yesterday.

Orioles will play Red Sox in Little League Classic in 2022 - BaltimoreBaseball.com
I get that this is a feel-good event for baseball, but it doesn't seem fair that the Red Sox will get to play against an actual Little League team. Zing!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! There are a whopping nine former Orioles who were born on this day. (And that number would be 10 if the O’s hadn’t foolishly traded away Mike Yastrzemski before he ever played a game for them. He turns 31 today.)

That group of nine includes one member of the Baseball Hall of Fame — third baseman George Kell (b. 1922, d. 2009), who finished his career in Baltimore in 1956-57 — as well as an Orioles Hall of Famer, right-hander Mike Boddicker (64), who was an All-Star and key member of the 1983 champion Birds during his nine-year stint with the club. The other seven all had short stints with the O’s: righty Denny Bautista (41); catcher Raul Casanova (49); infielders Alejandro Freire (47), Casey Blake (48), and Jeff Manto (57); lefty John Morris (80); and the late right-hander Ed Barnowski (b. 1943, d. 2017).

On this day in 1957, the Orioles won an unusual game against the Kansas City Athletics. Each team scored a run in the first...and then nobody scored for the next 10 innings, as Birds starter Connie Johnson locked horns with A’s reliever Wally Burnette, who entered in the third inning and worked 10 frames. Finally the Orioles broke the tie on a Willy Miranda RBI single in the top of the 12th, with Johnson working a scoreless bottom half to finish his 12-inning, one-run complete game.

On this date in 1970, Paul Blair delivered a walkoff single in the ninth to beat the Angels, 6-5. It gave Mike Cuellar, who threw a complete game, his 19th win of the year, and made the eventual champion Orioles the first AL team to reach 80 wins that season.

And on this day in 2002, the Orioles stormed back from an early 6-0 deficit — thanks to four home runs — to beat the Blue Jays, 11-7, and bring them back to .500 for the first time in more than three months. It didn’t take long for the good vibes to dissipate. The very next day, the Orioles began their infamous 4-32 stretch to end the season. Wow. Imagine actually being able to get four wins in a span of 36 games? The 2021 Orioles would kill for such success.