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Friday Bird Droppings: Nearing the 50-win mark

The O’s got a win, Mullins deserves MVP votes, and Zimmermann will make one more start.

MLB: Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning Birdland,

Look, the Orioles are a bad team. There is no doubt about that. And they may end up with the worst record in baseball on the season. That’s just math. But there is an easy enough argument to be made that, based on talent alone, they are not the absolute worst team in baseball.

The way they have handled the Texas Rangers this season is evidence enough of that. They have won 3 of 4 against the AL West club, including last night’s 3-0 win. The Kansas City Royals are another bad team the Orioles have beaten more than they have lost to.

The point is that while the Orioles would not be a playoff team regardless of division, they would probably look a little less bad. Unfortunately, they have the bad luck of playing in the AL East, a division that has seen them post a 5-30 record combined against the Rays and Red Sox.

That circumstance won’t be changing though, so it’s not an excuse. You play the hand you are dealt. The Orioles need to improve against their division, in particular Boston and Tampa. But it does provide some context on the team’s abhorrent performance overall.

Links & Notes

Young arms work together in shutout victory |
The Orioles’ young pitchers have not performed as well as the team might have hoped coming into the season. But many of them have looked sharper down the stretch than they did in the middle of summer. Zac Lowther’s five shutout innings on Thursday is just the latest example.

Hyde on Ellis, Urías, Zimmermann and Santander | School of Roch
The big news here is that Bruce Zimmermann is likely going to make one more start for the Orioles before the season is out. That is probably a big deal for him heading into the offseason. He was steady in the early part of the year, and he will surely be in the rotation mix this spring.

Orioles star Cedric Mullins carries rare MVP candidacy for a 100-loss team: ‘What Cedric’s done is special’ | The Baltimore Sun
Cedric Mullins has been incredible. He does just about everything well, and he deserves whatever MVP consideration he receives. On top of all of that he has remained healthy and handled the lows that have accompanied the many highs of his stellar campaign. You just cannot say enough good things about Mullins.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Travis Ishikawa turns 38 today. The career journeyman appeared in six games for the 2013 O’s, going 2-for-17 at the plate.
  • Jesse Garcia celebrates his 48th birthday. The middle infielder was drafted in the 26th round of the 1993 draft by the Orioles, and then made it into 31 games between 1999 and 2000 with the club.
  • Kevin Millar joins the 50 club with his birthday today. The first baseman had a three-season stint in Baltimore from 2006 through 2008, accumulating 2.3 bWAR in that time.
  • Rafael Palmeiro turns 57 today. He played 1994 through 1998 and then again from 2004 through 2005 with the Orioles as part of a career that saw him eclipse both the 500-home-run and 3,000-hit marks. His career concluded with a suspension for using anabolic steroids just months after telling U.S. Congress that he had never taken anything of the sort.
  • Curt Motton was born on this day in 1940 (d. 2010). The late outfielder spent seven seasons with the Orioles, split between two stretches, first from 1967 through 1971, and then from 1973 through 1974. In total he posted a 109 OPS+ and 3.5 bWAR as an Oriole.

Orioles history

1955 - The Orioles put the Washington Nationals over the century mark for losses in a season, beating them 1-0 and 8-5 for losses 99 and 100.

1971 - Mike Cuellar wins his 20th game of the season as the O’s clinch their division with a 9-2 victory over Cleveland. Pat Dobson also wins his 20th game of the season on this day when the O’s prevail 7-0 in Game 2 of the double-header.