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Sunday Bird Droppings: Where we’re still sad about the John Means news

The Orioles are going to have to keep on trucking without their best pitcher, who’s headed for Tommy John surgery. Bummer.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays
Same, man.
Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

The Orioles won again last night! No, I’m not kidding. The somnolent offense has woken up in Los Angeles, or Anaheim if you really want to be precise, with the team scoring five runs in back-to-back games on the way to a couple of fun wins. Last night’s 5-4 win improved the Orioles to 6-9 on the season. After some bad luck and scuffling in Oakland, they are salvaging this California swing a bit, with a guaranteed series win against the Angels and a possible sweep still in play.

Not all of the news in Birdland was good yesterday. The only way you would have missed the news that John Means needs Tommy John surgery is if you were totally unplugged. If you were, I hope it was relaxing. The rest of us have now had about 24 hours to sit with what has felt inevitable for about a week or so. Means deserved better luck than this. Alas, luck doesn’t have a whole lot to do with what goes on with the ulnar collateral ligament on one’s throwing arm.

We are, somehow, in the middle of an unprecedented stretch of success of Orioles starting pitching even after that injury to Means. That is, if success is defined in a particular narrow way, like so: Consecutive games in which an O’s starting pitcher has allowed two or fewer earned runs. After last night’s outing by Spenser Watkins where he gave up two runs to the Angels in five innings, there have been twelve straight games where O’s starters have done this. This has never happened in Orioles history before.

The fact that they have been able to compile this streak even after the injury suffered by Means is impressive. I have said it before and will say it again, I am sure this state of affairs will not last. Something will change. MLB might adjust whatever it has seemingly done to de-juice the baseballs or under-humidify the humidors and then offense will explode again and the Orioles pitchers will go back to performing in a way we expect - at least until hopefully better pitchers arrive.

The Orioles close out the series against the Angels with a 4:07 afternoon game today. Chris Ellis will make a second start for the O’s, with 24-year-old lefty Jose Suarez pitching for the Angels. Suarez has a 5.67 ERA in 190.1 career innings. With how the Orioles have been hitting before this series, that number will probably go down. Or maybe the last two games are a sign of a little breakout? I won’t hold my breath for this either.

Around the blogO’sphere

It was talk about Bowie day for Orioles beat writers yesterday, so there are several Double-A stories for you:

Moore managers to move around his shortstops at Bowie (School of Roch)
With all of Gunnar Henderson, Joey Ortiz, and Jordan Westburg on the roster, and even Adam Hall sort of in the mix, Bowie’s manager has to figure out how to balance playing time. He talked to Roch about how he’s doing it.

Bowie’s Maverick Handley talks about Rutschman, Hall, and Rodriguez (Baltimore Baseball)
Is Maverick Handley the future backup to Adley Rutschman? I don’t have high hopes, to be honest, but he’s got a great name.

Labeled with a ‘weird’ swing, Orioles prospect Hudson Haskin has learned to be himself. Production at Double-A Bowie followed. (The Baltimore Sun)
The Haskinator (still workshopping it) got on base twice more last night, leaving his batting line through 10 games at .417/.475/.833. The small sample size is good.

And one that’s actually not about Bowie!

The Orioles, still in a rebuild, think they can win without spending (The Washington Post)
The Post actually noticed the Orioles? What the heck is going on here? Okay, it’s just another anti-tanking pile-on. I think we are all looking forward to when the Orioles exit the tanking discourse because they stop sucking at baseball.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The most recent Orioles victory on this date came three years ago, when they beat the White Sox, 4-3, to improve to 10-16 on the season. As with many of these, things got worse from there. Five innings of one run ball from John Means proved enough for the O’s in the game. Two Orioles who appeared in that game remain on the 40-man roster: Trey Mancini and Paul Fry. Means, by virtue of being on the 60-day IL, is not currently on the 40-man.

There is one current Oriole who has a birthday today, though sadly we now know we won’t see him pitch again this year. Happy 29th to John Means, and a speedy recovery from this coming week’s surgery. One lone former Oriole has a birthday: 2017 catcher Welington Castillo.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Netherlands founding father William of Orange (1533), novelist Anthony Trollope (1815), novelist Robert Penn Warren (1905), actress Shirley MacLaine (1934), novelist Sue Grafton (1940), singer Barbra Streisand (1942), comedian and actor Cedric the Entertainer (1964), baseball Hall of Famer Chipper Jones (1972), and singer Kelly Clarkson (1982).

On this day in history...

In 1183 BC, the Trojan War came to an end with the Fall of Troy, or at least this was history’s best guess from the record of Eratosthenes, chief librarian of the Library of Alexandria nearly a thousand years later.

In 1800 AD, America’s Library of Congress was established after President John Adams signed legislation authorizing funding of books that may be needed for Congressional purposes.

In 1915, Ottoman Empire forces arrested 250 Armenian intellectuals and community leaders, now recognized as the beginning of the Armenian genocide by the Ottomans and later the Turkish government.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 24. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!