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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles can play spoilers again

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After a brief respite from facing a postseason contender, the Orioles head back into the gauntlet of playoff hopefuls for the next two weeks.

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

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The Orioles and Royals just finished a four-game set in the most fitting way for two bottom-feeding clubs: with neither team winning the series. The Royals’ 6-0 shutout last night, which Mark Brown recapped, finished a series split between two clubs who had nothing to play for. For those who are interested in such things, the loss moved the Orioles within half a game of the idle Diamondbacks for the worst record in baseball and the #1 pick in the 2022 draft.

Now the schedule gets extremely difficult again, starting tonight with the red-hot Toronto Blue Jays coming into Baltimore for four games in three days, including a Saturday doubleheader to make up a July rainout. The Blue Jays just finished a dominant four-game sweep at Yankee Stadium in which they never trailed at any point, and, against all odds, they’ve pulled within half a game of the Yanks for the second Wild Card spot. It’s safe to say they’ll be fighting with every fiber of their being to keep that momentum rolling at Camden Yards this weekend. They know they can’t afford to let their guard down against a team like the Orioles. Just look what happened to the Yankees when they lost two of three to the Birds last weekend.

After the Blue Jays series is finished, the Orioles’ next opponent is — you guessed it — the Yankees, who head into town for three games Sept. 14-16. And don’t forget the Red Sox, currently holding the top Wild Card spot by a game, who will host the Orioles in Boston next weekend. Over the next 10 days, the Orioles are going to play a major role in deciding which of their AL East competitors makes the playoffs.

Someday, perhaps the Orioles will be in that playoff discussion themselves. But for now, this will have to do.

Links

Game gets away from Orioles late in 6-0 loss (updated) - School of Roch
John Means is frustrated with himself for not finishing the eighth inning. He’s being a bit hard on himself for a guy who was by far the most competent Oriole in last night’s game.

Orioles slugger Ryan Mountcastle is an AL Rookie of Year Award candidate - Orioles.com
Perhaps because he plays for the Orioles, there hasn’t been a lot of buzz for Ryan Mountcastle as Rookie of the Year. But there really should be, as Savannah McCann writes.

Orioles place Matt Harvey on 10-day injured list; Martin recalled from Norfolk - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Brandon Hyde noted recently that the Orioles were looking for the right time to shut down Matt Harvey for the season. It appears that time has arrived.

Ranking 6 Orioles on-field storylines in the final month of an awful season – The Athletic
If you’re looking for some reasons to watch the Orioles as they most likely get knocked around in September, Dan Connolly’s got you covered with some intriguing storylines. Does Cedric Mullins have three more home runs and four more steals in him? I say yes.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Wait, really? It is? Well, it’s mine, too! Happy birthday, birthday buddy! We share our day with newly minted Oriole Mike Baumann, who turns 26 just three days after he made his MLB debut with a win. This has to be one of his most memorable birthdays yet.

Other MLB players with excellent taste in birthdays include former Orioles Matt Angle (36) and Danys Baez (44), Baseball Hall of Famers Randy Johnson (58) and High Pockets Kelly (b. 1895, d. 1984), possible future Hall of Famer Joey Votto (38), former home run king Roger Maris (b. 1934, d. 1985), and current Cardinals first baseman Paul Goldschmidt (34). His name is Paul and he shares my birthday, so basically we’re the same guy. Just don’t compare our bank accounts or physiques. Among non-baseball players, Sept. 10 is the birthday of actors Colin Firth and Ryan Phillippe, golfer Arnold Palmer, and ballerina Misty Copeland.

The Orioles haven’t won a game on this date since 2016, when they romped to an 11-3 blowout in Detroit in a game with major postseason implications. Matt Wieters homered twice, Adam Jones and Chris Davis also went yard, and Ubaldo Jimenez worked seven strong innings. The win pulled the Orioles a game ahead of the Tigers for the second AL Wild Card spot.

On this day in 1977, the Orioles hosted a wild game against Cleveland. Mike Flanagan carried a shutout into the top of the ninth in a 4-0 game, only for Cleveland to plate four runs to tie it up. The visitors then went ahead in the top of the 11th on a home run by future Oriole John Lowenstein, but the O’s rallied in the bottom half, with Eddie Murray tying the game with an RBI single and Doug DeCinces following with the walkoff hit.

And on this day in 1983, the Orioles swept a doubleheader at Yankee Stadium to build a 5.5 game lead in the AL East. In game one, the O’s snapped a 2-2 tie in the ninth with a six-run rally, capped off by a grand slam by the aforementioned John Lowenstein. All six runs were unearned thanks to a leadoff error by Yankee shortstop Roy Smalley. The nightcap was a breezy 3-1 win, as Mike Boddicker pitched seven innings without allowing an earned run.