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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles fail once again at playing spoiler

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The Orioles almost beat the Yankees on Wednesday night, but almost is not worth very much in baseball.

MLB: New York Yankees at Baltimore Orioles
The grounds crew was briefly ejected last night and it started raining 30 seconds later. No, really.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

Some day, the Orioles will have a better team again and they will start winning some of “those” games, even against the dreaded Yankees. That day was certainly not last night. The Orioles came oh-so-close to getting to play a satisfying spoiler that would have knocked the loathed Birdland rival out of a playoff spot, for now.

They got the amazing defensive play. They got the clutch late-inning go-ahead home run. Then they lost anyway, because of some bad pitching by Tyler Wells, the latest anointed closer to go up in flames, and some bad luck like a blooper at the wrong place at the wrong time. That’s the way it goes, at least for these 2021 Birds.

The Orioles get one more chance to knock the damn Yankees out of a postseason spot in this evening’s 5:05 contest. It’s a three-way tie for the two AL wild card spots right now, between Boston, Toronto, and New York. The Sox and Jays are idle today, so a loss would drop the Yankees a half-game below those other guys. No one should get their hopes up for the Orioles pulling this feat off in a game started by Chris Ellias.

Perhaps we can be happier about the Orioles Double-A affiliate, the Bowie Baysox. Bowie won a tenth straight game last night, winning a walkoff in ten innings after blowing a 4-1 lead in the ninth. Grayson Rodriguez struck out five batters and walked none in another five inning start. The win has the Baysox in a Double-A postseason spot by a half game, so they’ve got to keep winning to qualify.

It’s all more of a reminder that there are probably some much better times coming for the Orioles, but they sure aren’t at the big league level yet. Bowie is exciting for having some major prospects on the team, unlike the last time this O’s affiliate won its league title. Adley Rutschman already got promoted out of Bowie. So did Kyle Stowers. Those guys helped the Baysox get where they are now.

Rodriguez is dominant. Jordan Westburg and now Gunnar Henderson are manning spots in the infield. If this team pulls off big wins and makes it, that could mean good things, perhaps as soon as next year with some of the players, especially Rutschman and even Stowers who are finishing off the year at Norfolk. I don’t want to say any more lest I jinx them. I’ve probably already said too much.

The silver lining to the losing, as ever, remains the Orioles quest for the #1 draft pick next year. They were a half-game “ahead” of the Diamondbacks starting play on Wednesday. Arizona was in action late against the Dodgers. At 46-99, the O’s are now on pace to finish 51-111; with their strength of schedule remaining it’s tempting to take the under on wins. Hopefully they can at least pull off the two more wins to be better than the 2018 Orioles record.

Around the blogO’sphere

5’8” Mullins makes HR robbery look easy (Orioles.com)
There’s always the tendency to proclaim the most recent thing to be the best thing, but seriously, this was an amazing catch and I feel bad for anyone who didn’t get to watch it happen.

Trey Mancini proud of finding balance in comeback season: ‘A year unlike any other’ (The Baltimore Sun)
There’s no question that Mancini’s performance is one of the few good stories on the 2021 Orioles.

Notes on Mancini, Severino, Means, Mountcastle, and more (School of Roch)
Unfortunately, Mancini was originally placed in last night’s lineup and was scratched with side soreness. Hopefully this oblique thing doesn’t wipe out the remainder of his season. It’s been lingering for more than a week now.

Mateo’s ill-timed injury, rotation age, other myriad O’s thoughts (The Athletic)
Dan Connolly laments some of the injuries that are keeping the Orioles from evaluating players down the stretch. A pair of Jorges, Mateo and López (as a reliever), are the two that really stick out.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2014, it was “Clinchmas” in Birdland, as the Orioles sealed their AL East title with an 8-2 win over the Blue Jays. Exactly two years previously, the O’s won their 82nd game by beating Oakland, 9-5, guaranteeing an end to the streak of losing seasons. When do you think the current streaks of O’s losing seasons and of not winning the division will end?

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2007 reliever Paul Shuey, 1992-93/96 reserve catcher Mark Parent, 1988-90 catcher Mickey Tettleton, and 2001 four-gamer and Baseball Hall of Famer Tim Raines. Today is Raines’s 62nd birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: famous Shakespeare speech-giver Henry V of England (1386), J.C. Penney founder James Cash Penney (1875), actress Lauren Bacall (1924), blues man B.B. King (1925), historian Henry Louis Gates (1950), Baseball Hall of Famer Robin Yount (1955), magician David Copperfield (1956), musician Marc Anthony (1968), and actress Amy Poehler (1971).

On this day in history...

In 1620, the Pilgrims set sail on the Mayflower.

In 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo called people of Mexico to arms against Spain with the Grito de Dolores, launching the Mexican War of Independence.

In 1959, a live television broadcast from New York City introduced Xerox’s first commercial photocopier, which is also the first successful photocopier.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on September 16. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!