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Thursday Bird Droppings: The September started out like August edition

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The calendar finally turned away from August. The Orioles still lost their first September game. At least it was only by one run?

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Toronto Blue Jays
It be like that sometimes.
Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

The Orioles finally escaped the dreadful month of August. It did not help them get into the win column right away. The fact that they “only” lost by one run to the Blue Jays last night, instead of getting blown out like they did so often in August, and that one run scored when Oriole-killer Randal Grichuk hit a sacrifice fly, doesn’t make the losing much better. Check out Paul Folkemer’s recap of the game for the not-so-lovely totals.

In any year before 2020, the month of September might have made for a series of interesting, or at least what passes for interesting on a bad team, minor league call-ups. With the rules for 2021, the call-ups are no longer so interesting at all, as now teams can only add two players to get up to a 28-man active roster for the month. The two players the Orioles added yesterday, Alexander Wells and Dusten Knight, have both already pitched for the O’s this season.

September isn’t getting any fresh faces into the mix, or at least not yet. If you read between the lines of the various Orioles beat writer reports, there seem to be hints that they might cycle through some other players as the month goes along.

Of the guys at Norfolk who seem like call-up candidates, all but one have already played for the Orioles. Mike Baumann is one who seems like he might still appear. Baumann is 25 and already on the 40-man roster. Those points make him more likely to show up with the Orioles. On the other hand, for various reasons, the 2017 third round pick only has 27 innings above the Double-A level under his belt. Mike Elias has not tended to have guys make a jump like that. Maybe as the season wears down, he’ll make an exception in this case.

Last night’s loss leaves the Orioles at a 41-91 record. That’s a 50-112 pace over a full season worth of games. It’s not great! They need to win three more games to be better than the 2003 Detroit Tigers, and seven more games to be better than the 2018 Orioles. I hope they can accomplish both of those feats. Their closest competition for the #1 pick in next year’s draft remains the Diamondbacks. Arizona picked up a win last night to improve to 45-90. That’s a separation of 2.5 games in the standings, with the Orioles holding a tiebreaker by virtue of a worse 2019 record.

The Orioles will neither win nor lose today as they have the day off before starting a series against the Yankees in New York on Friday. The Yankees are seven games out of the division lead, so they must probably settle for a wild card spot. New York currently has a two-game advantage as the home wild card team, with the Red Sox as the road team. Oakland lurks another two games beyond Boston, with the Mariners (3.5 games) and even Blue Jays (4.5 games) still holding out a little hope.

With six games still to come against both the Yankees and Red Sox, plus another seven games against the Blue Jays, the Orioles will have a lot of say in how that race shakes out. It’s just that the way they’re currently playing, the only say they’ll have is adding a bunch of wins to those teams totals.

Around the blogO’sphere

On September roster expansion (School of Roch)
Roch correctly predicted yesterday’s two September call-ups before running down the state of the rest of the 40-man roster and who else might cycle through as the O’s march towards the end of the season.

Tyler Wells earning high leverage opportunities (Orioles.com)
A whole bunch of Orioles pitchers have flamed out after a few impressive early opportunities. Tyler Wells is one guy who’s gotten stronger as the year has gone along.

Mock MLB expansion draft (The Athletic)
The Athletic’s baseball writers organized a mock draft for hypothetical expansion franchises in Montreal and Nashville. In the draft, Nashville picked Marcos Diplan from the Orioles, while Montreal snagged Keegan Akin. I think if the deadline date for protecting players had been a week later, Akin would have probably been kept by the O’s.

Stowers’ power: Stanford draftee leads O’s farm in home runs (Steve Melewski)
The 2019 CBB pick is OPSing .907 between Aberdeen and Bowie this year. It’s been nice to see, although the 31.7% strikeout rate remains a bit of a concern.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The most recent time that the Orioles were victorious on September 2 was in the 2016 season, when they knocked off the Yankees, 8-0, improving to 73-61. This record still left them in third place, three games out of the division lead. Mark Trumbo hit his 41st home run of the year in the game.

A number of former Orioles were born on this day. They are: 2012-13 pitcher Jason Hammel, 1986 reserve infielder Rex Hudler, 1980 reserve outfielder Drungo Hazewood, 1978-79 reliever John Flinn, 1984-86 reliever Nate Snell, 1977 catcher Dave Criscione, and 1961-62 outfielder Marv Throneberry.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: last Hawaiian monarch Lili’oukalani (1838), former MLB commissioner Peter Ueberroth (1937), teacher/astronaut Christa McAuliffe (1948), actor Keanu Reeves (1964), actress Salma Hayek (1966), and nerdcore rapper MC Chris (1975).

On this day in history...

In 1192, Saladin and England’s Richard I signed the Treaty of Jaffa, effectively ending the Third Crusade. The Crusade was largely a success for the Christian forces, although it did not succeed in capturing Jerusalem.

In 1752, Great Britain and its colonies, including these future United States, adopted the Gregorian calendar after holding out for over 150 years.

In 1864, during the Civil War, Union forces entered the city of Atlanta.

In 1901, Vice President Theodore Roosevelt appeared at the Minnesota State Fair, where he’s thought to have first spoken his famous phrase, “Speak softly and carry a big stick.”

In 1945, hostilities in World War II came to an end with the signing of the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on board the USS Missouri.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on September 2. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!