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Monday Bird Droppings: Where Adley Rutschman is moving on up

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While the Orioles continue to self-destruct, baseball’s top prospect just moved one step closer to the majors with a promotion to Triple-A.

2021 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

So, how was your weekend?

If you happen to be a member of the Orioles, particularly a relief pitcher, your weekend could hardly have been more disastrous. The O’s suffered a three-game sweep at the hands of the Rays — falling to 1-11 against Tampa Bay this season — in a series in which they held a lead in the fifth inning or later of each contest. The Birds suffered one bullpen meltdown after another, as nearly every reliever Brandon Hyde entrusted with a lead put up their most inept performance of the season. Stacey recapped yesterday’s latest relief implosion.

The Orioles did, at least, avoid giving up 10 runs for a fifth straight game, which would have set an American League record (though they did come precariously close, with the Rays getting potential run #10 as far as third base in the ninth inning). But that’s little consolation to a bullpen that’s been an absolute tire fire of late. O’s relievers were torched for 22 runs in the three-game series with the Rays, and an incredible 37 runs during their five-game losing streak. Hyde has literally no reliable relievers to turn to at this point. Paul Fry and Dillon Tate, previously the Birds’ two best bullpen arms, have combined to cough up 15 earned runs in 2.1 innings in that span. That doesn’t even seem mathematically possible!

At this point there’s hardly any reason to pay attention to the major league club, said the guy who spends his time writing for an Orioles blog. The minor league system is where all the action is happening, and last night brought perhaps the biggest news of the year: Adley Rutschman, the top prospect in baseball, is being promoted to Triple-A Norfolk.

Finally! Rutschman, the #1 overall draft pick in 2019, has excelled at Double-A Bowie in his first full professional season, posting a .271/.392/.508 line with 18 home runs and 55 RBIs in 80 games and an almost even number of walks (55) as strikeouts (57). He’s considered an elite defender behind the plate, though the Baysox have also been giving him spot starts at first base and DH to keep him fresh. Rutschman, who this weekend was bumped up to the #1 spot in MLB Pipeline’s Top 100 prospects list after Wander Franco’s graduation, will now take his talents to Norfolk for what we assume will be the rest of the 2021 season, barring a surprise call-up to the bigs.

It’s a promotion that was a long time coming, and it puts a potential future superstar on the doorstep of the major leagues. Better days are ahead, Orioles fans. Despite what we saw this weekend.

Links

Source: Orioles promoting Rutschman to Triple-A Norfolk - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko, who was the first to break the news, talks more about what the Rutschman promotion means for the Orioles and the Tides. Sorry, Brett Cumberland — something tells me your playing time is about to get slashed.

Orioles put Mountcastle on 7-day concussion injured list - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Ryan Mountcastle, who’d been scalding the ball in August, is going to miss time after showing concussion symptoms in Friday night’s game. Everything is awful.

Cedric Mullins becomes seventh Oriole in 20-20 club - Orioles.com
Well, scratch my previous comment, not everything is awful. Cedric Mullins continues to be a beacon of hope, joining the 20-20 club with eyes on getting to 30-30. I wouldn’t bet against him.

Boston Red Sox lefty Chris Sale returning Saturday vs. Baltimore Orioles
Chris Sale is pitching against the Orioles this weekend. So basically it’ll be his last rehab start before he gets to face a major league team. Hey-o!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Players born on August 9 have combined to play a whopping one game in Orioles history. That belongs to Chuck Essegian, who had one plate appearance with the 1961 Orioles, popping out as a pinch-hitter on Opening Day. He turns 90 years old today.

On this day in 1968, three Orioles batters were hit by a pitch in a single inning, tying an American League record. Mark Belanger and Frank Robinson were plunked by Angels reliever Marty Pattin — the only two batters he faced — and Brooks Robinson was drilled by Dennis Bennett. The O’s didn’t score any of those baserunners, but won the game anyway, 3-0, on a Dave McNally shutout.

In 2010, the Orioles beat the White Sox on a walkoff homer in the 10th by Brian Roberts, his first homer of the year. The victory improved the Birds to 6-1 under new manager Buck Showalter, including three walkoff wins.

And on this day in 2013, in a game I attended at San Francisco’s AT&T Park, the Orioles scored three runs in the top of the 10th to beat the Giants, 5-2. With a runner aboard in the 10th, Giants manager Bruce Bochy made the bizarre decision to intentionally walk Adam Jones to face Chris Davis, who entered the game with 41 homers and a 1.052 OPS. Davis promptly ripped a go-ahead, two-run double.