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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where the John Means TJ recovery clock is now active

The Orioles All-Star’s Tommy John surgery was a success, the team said yesterday. Now we wait for his 2023 return.

Milwaukee Brewers v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

The Orioles are now losers of three straight games after falling to the Yankees last night, 5-2. They sit at 6-12 on the season, which over a full season worth of games works out to a 54-108 pace. We’ve seen that record before in recent years, specifically in 2019. I am hoping for better by season’s end. For now, if it makes you feel any better, the Orioles are not the worst, or even second-worst team - those are the Reds (3-15) and Nationals (6-14). Check out Harrison’s recap of the game for the not-so-lovely totals.

If there’s any one consolation to be had about these early weeks of the 2022 Orioles season, it’s that they haven’t been getting blown out. The 2021 squad was blown out (as defined by Baseball Reference, 5+ runs deficit in a game or worse) in 44 of their 110 losses. That’s a full 40% of Orioles losses where they got completely destroyed a year ago. So far this season, they have been blown out in exactly one of their twelve losses. That is a much better percentage.

Will this state of affairs last? I would not want to bet on it, but then, I am a notorious pessimist. To me, watching the sad-sack Orioles offense feels like something that’s permanent. Trey Mancini has been plagued by bad luck. Other Orioles, I am less convinced are “due” to have better outcomes on the way. Some things will only improve with a change in personnel.

As for the pitching staff, we’re already seeing there was a certain illusory quality to the good result from the first couple of weeks. Luck has balanced out on some relievers in this Yankees series and the O’s pitching staff no longer compares so favorably to peers. Maybe Bruce Zimmermann can keep rolling in this afternoon’s 1:05 game, with the O’s looking to avoid a sweep at the hands of the Yankees. Or maybe he will just be the latest one whose “there’s no way HE is THAT good” numbers start to balance out closer to an expected reality.

One thing that might help you feel a little bit better about the sad state of the offense is that there was a prospect-fueled offensive explosion on a couple of the affiliates last night. The following all homered on Wednesday: Gunnar Henderson, Coby Mayo, and Jordan Westburg. Considering how it’s the Orioles infield that is particularly getting wrecked at the plate, these guys offering hope for the hopefully near future is encouraging.

What would be even nicer is if the major league-level Orioles were not so committed to making sure we can’t forget that the future is not here yet.

Around the blogO’sphere

Means has TJ surgery; rehab to start ‘immediately’ (Orioles.com)
The surgery was yesterday. Mike Elias is optimistic about having Means back in the first half of the 2023 season. It seems like he’s optimistic about a lot of things lately.

Wondering whether Bradish’s delayed next start means anything for Orioles (School of Roch)
Pitching prospect Kyle Bradish was originally going to start for the Norfolk Tides last night. They’ve pushed him back to Friday. People, including Roch, are looking at the Chris Ellis rotation spot coming up on Saturday and every fifth game thereafter and wondering whether Bradish is being lined up to take it, and if so, when.

Introducing the new Orioles bullpen (FanGraphs)
The folks at FanGraphs noticed there have been some good Orioles relievers earlier this week! Unfortunately, many of them have had crummy outings since then, so the new Orioles bullpen doesn’t feel so new any more.

In Rutschman’s view, good things come to those who wait (Baltimore Baseball)
By God, that’s Peter Schmuck’s music! He checked in with Aberdeen as Adley Rutschman’s assignment there got rolling.

Judge denies Nationals’ request to order Orioles-controlled MASN to pay $23 million into escrow (The Baltimore Sun)
The legal dispute that may outlive us all is now entering its second decade.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1988, the Orioles lost what turned out to be the last of its MLB record season-opening losing streak, falling to the Twins, 4-2. They went 54-86 for the rest of the season, which is a 62-win pace over a full season.

The most recent O’s victory on this date came six years ago, when the 2016 team beat the White Sox, 10-2. Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo, and Manny Machado all homered on the way to the victory. Machado’s was a grand slam. Won’t it be fun when the Orioles are fun again?

There are several former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2008 reliever Jim Miller, 2001-03 pitcher Sean Douglass, 1996 reliever Jimmy Myers, 1991-94 reliever Jim Poole, and 1960-65 outfielder Jackie Brandt. Today is Brandt’s 88th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: 5th president James Monroe (1758), movie subject Oskar Schindler (1908), Lamborghini founder Ferruccio Lamborghini (1916), novelist Harper Lee (1926), actress Ann-Margret (1941), baseball Hall of Famer Barry Larkin (1964), and actress Jessica Alba (1981).

On this day in history...

In 1788, Maryland voted to ratify the United States Constitution, becoming the seventh state to do so.

In 1973, Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon reached #1 on the Billboard 200 chart in the United States. The album, which has sold at least 15 million copies in America, was on the chart for a record 962 weeks, or 18.5 years. Second place is Legend: the Best of Bob Marley, active for its 727th week on the chart, now at #79. Journey’s Greatest Hits, currently at 84th, has also topped 700 weeks.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 28. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!