The party for Orioles fans has been briefly interrupted. After getting some good vibes from the team winning five of six and seven out of their last ten games, the O’s turned in a clunker against the Cardinals on Wednesday night, losing 10-1. Check out Tyler Young’s recap for the not-so-lovely totals.
Losses like last night’s leave me feeling cold because they confirm my fear that the Orioles pitching staff has been overachieving, and they also confirm my fear that the Orioles offense is about what we saw over the first month or so of the season. That will not be a winning formula, or even a “winning more than 62 games” formula, if that’s how things stay. Time will tell us whether last night was more of an aberration, or whether the previous ten games were.
It’s not all glum, even after last night’s loss. You can still tell yourself a story about improvement that will be coming to the Orioles roster. I’m still convinced, even though there’s been official silence on the matter, that the Adley Rutschman train will be figuratively pulling into the station in Baltimore either four or eight days from now. That should mark an immediate improvement on one of the biggest black holes in the Orioles lineup.
Perhaps we should not put that expectation on Rutschman and just let the experience happen. Although it was disappointing that Rutschman wasn’t able to join the other top prospects in MLB who made Opening Day rosters - Julio Rodriguez, Spencer Torkelson, and Bobby Witt - the three of those guys have not yet equaled the hype yet. Torkelson, taken #1 the year after Rutschman, is OPSing only .531. Witt sits with a .572 OPS, while Rodriguez is at an only-OK-in-2022 .657 OPS.
It’s been tough for this caliber of prospect to adjust. Are the three weeks that Rutschman will have spent in the minors - if he’s called up next week, as we all hope and many of us now believe - going to be enough to ward off this misfortune? I don’t know! As you know if you’ve been reading Camden Chat for a long time, there’s a part of my brain that’s still sure that Rutschman will end up in the “good player but not equal to the hype” level like the last hyped switch-hitting catching prospect in these parts, Matt Wieters.
These are problems for next week or later, in any case. For today, the Orioles will try to pick up a series win against the St. Louis Cardinals in the 1:15 finale of their three-game series. One factor complicating that is that, as of this writing, it is still unclear who will be the Orioles starting pitcher for the game, and meantime the O’s hitters will face hard-throwing Jordan Hicks.
The Orioles are now 13-18. Through 31 games last year, they were 15-16, as close to .500 as they got for the remainder of the season because they went 2-21 for the rest of May. The 2022 team is currently on pace for a 68-94 finish - still pretty bad baseball but would feel like a huge improvement after everything we’ve seen after Opening Day 2018. There are eight teams with worse records than the O’s right now. Win today and it’ll be a 71-win pace. Lose and they’ll be on a 66-win pace.
Around the blogO’sphere
Mountcastle scratched from lineup with sore wrist (School of Roch)
Ryan Mountcastle was in yesterday’s lineup, then not in yesterday’s lineup, due to lingering wrist soreness. I’m concerned, but hope he will be better soon. In the meantime, the Orioles have had infielders Rylan Bannon and Richie Martin join the taxi squad for the remainder of the road trip.
ESPN’s Kiley McDaniel on why Druw Jones is the top prospect in the 2022 MLB draft (Press Box)
Three Orioles drafts into his tenure, Mike Elias has not yet taken a high school player with his first selection. Is this random noise, or a pattern? Druw Jones, son of Andruw, currently widely thought to be the #1 prospect in the draft, will put this to the test in a couple of months.
O’s new play-by-play voice following lineage of greats (Orioles.com)
I never get tired of Adley Rutschman and Grayson Rodriguez content, and in an entirely different way, I never get tired of Kevin Brown content.
Top Baltimore Orioles players ranked 50 to 1 (Herald Mail)
Not totally sure what this publication is or why it cares about the top 50 Orioles in WAR, but there wasn’t much new to talk about today, so here we are. Compare and contrast to the Camden Chat Top 50 Greatest Orioles of All Time from two years ago.
And then there’s this bit of bad news...
Right-hander Kyle Brnovich underwent successful Tommy John surgery on his right elbow today in Dallas, with Dr. Keith Meister operating, the Orioles announce— Andy Kostka (@afkostka) May 12, 2022
Brnovich, part of the Dylan Bundy trade, only pitched in two games for Triple-A Norfolk this year before getting shelved due to a forearm injury. The need for Tommy John had been suspected but not announced until now. The 24-year-old righty will be Rule 5 draft eligible after this season.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
The most recent Orioles victory on this day was “only” three years ago. The 2019 O’s beat the Angels, 5-1, to avoid a sweep. John Means gave up just one run in six innings to lower his season ERA to 2.33. O’s batters hit four home runs in the game, including one by, if you can believe it, Chris Davis, his 5th of 12 homers that year. After the win, the 2019 team was 14-26.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2014 reliever Evan Meek, 1995 outfielder Kevin Bass, and 1982-85 catcher Joe Nolan. Today is Nolan’s 71st birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale (1820), composer Gabriel Fauré (1845), actress Katharine Hepburn (1907), baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra (1925), comedian George Carlin (1937), and skateboarder Tony Hawk (1968).
On this day in history...
In 907, China’s Tang dynasty Emperor Ai was forced into abdicating by warlord Zhu Wen, ending a period of dynastic rule dating to 618. Zhu Wen’s proclaiming himself emperor kicked off a period of Chinese history known as the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms era. Wen died five years later, and his founded dynasty Later Liang was wiped away in 923 by Later Tang.
In 1863, the American army defeated a force of rebelling traitors in the Battle of Raymond. The victory in the interior of Mississippi set up General Ulysses Grant’s advance on the besieged river port of Vicksburg, which surrendered less than two months later.
In 1932, the Lindbergh baby was found, dead, a few miles away from Charles Lindbergh’s home in New Jersey. The baby, Charles Jr., had been abducted ten weeks previously. Two years later, Bruno Hauptmann was arrested for the crime. He maintained his innocence until he was executed in 1936.
In 1949, the Soviet Union lifted its blockade of the city of Berlin after nearly a full year. American and British aircraft flew over 250,000 missions to keep supplies flowing to West Berlin during the blockade.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on May 12. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!