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Tuesday Bird Droppings: It’s Division Series time

After a few chaotic wild card series, the next round of eight teams is set. Who are you pulling for?

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Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles
Trey Mancini and the Astros will begin their postseason action tonight.
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

That was quite the opening round of playoffs, huh? The Mariners pulled off an incredible seven-run comeback in Toronto to complete a shocking road sweep. The Guardians scored only three runs in 23 innings against the Rays yet somehow won both games, capped by a walkoff homer from a guy whose walkup music is the SpongeBob SquarePants theme. The Phillies ended the Cardinals’ season — and Albert Pujols and Yadier Molina’s careers — thanks to a stunning six-run ninth inning in Game 1. And the poor Mets’ decades-long streak of misfortunate continued, as Buck Showalter’s 101-win club was upset in the first round by Manny Machado’s 89-win Padres.

Can anything top those three days of madness? We’ll find out starting tonight. The four wild card round winners take on the four best teams in baseball — the Astros, Yankees, Dodgers, and Braves, who all had first-round byes — in the best-of-five Division Series. Four games are on the docket today, starting at 1 PM.

I have to say I’m rooting against the favorite in each case. The Dodgers are so dominant that it’s boring, and they just won the World Series two years ago. The Braves won it all last year, and their home games are unwatchable when the crowd breaks out into the Tomahawk Chop. The Astros still have the stench of their 2017 cheating scandal around them, which even the presence of Trey Mancini can’t outweigh. And the Yankees are, well, the Yankees.

So, uh, Mariners-Padres World Series or bust. Who are you pulling for?


Nevin playing ball in Dominican Republic and hoping to make Orioles opening day roster - Blog
It’s good that he has hope, but I think it’s more likely Nevin won’t even be in the organization next opening day.

From Bowie to Baltimore: Gunnar Henderson had one special season - Steve Melewski
Melewski recounts Henderson’s meteoric rise through the ranks this year, in which he was named Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year and made his MLB debut. I still don’t understand how Gunnar didn’t win the Orioles’ Minor League Player of the Year award. Was he ineligible because he was in the majors? I need answers!

Orioles Q&A with Gunnar Henderson: On the majors, competitiveness and Mötley Crüe - The Athletic
It's Gunnar Henderson day on the Orioles’ beat. Dan Connolly interviews the wunderkind infielder about his baseball background, his musical tastes, and of course, whether he or Kyle Stowers has the better hair. Answering that last question is like trying to pick your favorite child.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 56th birthday to former All-Star closer and Camden Chat’s 49th greatest Oriole of all time, Gregg Olson. The Birds’ first round pick in 1988 made his MLB debut later that year and in 1989 was named the AL Rookie of the Year, still the most recent Oriole to win that award. (Adley Rutschman might have broken that streak this year if Julio Rodriguez didn’t exist.) Other former Orioles born on Oct. 11 include All-Star infielder Ty Wigginton (45), utility man Mike Fiore (78), and the late catcher Joe Ginsberg (b. 1926, d. 2012).

The Orioles have played 10 postseason games on this date in history, but won only four. So as not to bum you out, I will write only about the victories:

  • In 1969, the O’s opened the World Series with a Game 1 victory over the Mets, 4-1. Don Buford led off the game with a home run against Hall of Famer Tom Seaver, and later capped a three-run O’s fifth inning with an RBI double. Orioles starter Mike Cuellar went the distance and allowed only one run, and contributed an RBI single at the plate for good measure. Sadly, it would turn out to be the Orioles’ only win of the series. (Whoops, sorry, I promised not to bum you out.)
  • In 1970, the Orioles again won Game 1 of the World Series, this time against the Reds. Brooks Robinson’s legendary Fall Classic began with the O’s third baseman not only cranking the go-ahead homer in the seventh, but also making the first of several sensational defensive plays, this one an unbelievable robbery of Lee May in which he ranged far behind the bag and made a perfect throw from foul territory. It’s the stuff from which legends are born. Boog Powell and Elrod Hendricks also homered, helping the O’s come back from a 3-0 deficit, while Jim Palmer was one out shy of a complete game in the win.
  • In 1971, the Orioles took a 2-0 lead over the Pirates in the World Series with a blowout Game 2 win, 11-3. Brooks Robinson again was the star, reaching base five straight times — a World Series record — as part of a 14-hit O’s attack. Weirdly, all 14 hits were singles! Also weirdly, four of the first five Pirates pitchers in the game were named Bob (Johnson, Moose, Veale, and Miller).
  • And in 2012, the O’s won a 13-inning marathon at Yankee Stadium, 2-1, the longest postseason game in franchise history. The O’s tallied a fifth-inning run on a Nate McLouth homer before the Yanks tied it in the sixth, and then the two teams traded zeroes for six innings before J.J. Hardy’s go-ahead RBI double in the 13th. Seven Orioles relievers combined for 7.1 scoreless innings after Joe Saunders’ solid 5.2-inning start. The O’s victory tied the best-of-five ALDS at two wins apiece.