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Sunday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles offense has suddenly vanished

In Saturday’s Orioles lineup, the best OPS among the 4-9 hitters was .651. That hurts.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers
Have you seen this man get a hit? Rougned Odor’s positive contributions so far in 2022 feel rare.
Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

Remember a couple of days ago when you had some tentative good feelings about the Orioles? I certainly did. That’s what I get for getting my hopes up even a tiny little bit. The sad offense continued on Saturday afternoon against the Tigers as the O’s dropped a second straight game to that last place team, with their plethora of hard-hit balls not amounting to much in a 3-0 loss. Check out Drew Bonifant’s recap of the game for some not-so-lovely totals.

The Orioles offense had started to make some progress in the early days of May, but the injuries suffered by Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays have robbed them of two of their better hitters to date this season and no one has yet stepped up. Saturday’s lineup was particularly egregious. By game’s end, the highest OPS among any of the 4-9 hitters was .651. It’s like, yeah, when that’s the lineup you’re running out there, no wonder you got shut out.

Hays, we can hope, will be back as soon as today after needing a couple of stitches from a laceration suffered during Thursday’s game. Mountcastle remains on the injured list. Jorge Mateo had a routine day off, which didn’t help matters. Maybe the O’s can at least get a good 1-6 in the short term. Some dudes in the 7-9 hitting group need to start hitting better or their opportunity for playing time needs to be curtailed.

One obvious answer to one of these lineup problems presents itself. When is it going to be Adley Rutschman time? Several days ago, I really believed the Orioles would call him up tomorrow, but the fact that it’s now Sunday morning and not a word has been said about this leaves me doubting that earlier belief. Perhaps they are waiting for the Friday of the coming homestand, or perhaps they will disappoint us with a debut beyond the next two series.

Even if we assume Rutschman comes up and lights the world on fire immediately, which is no guarantee given how other top prospect rookies have played for the last six weeks, the O’s will still need to get some better hitters to do better. Yesterday’s infield of Tyler Nevin, Rougned Odor, Chris Owings, and Ramón Urías sure wasn’t cutting the mustard.

The O’s will try to avoid a sweep with a 1:40 scheduled game this afternoon. Tyler Wells and Tarik Skubal are set as the starting pitchers for the finale. Let’s hope the offense can finally score some runs and the pitching staff can continue to pitch well enough that the offense scoring 4-5 runs would matter.

Around the blogO’sphere

Orioles DFA Paul Fry and claim Beau Sulser (School of Roch)
The Orioles snuck in two different roster moves before yesterday’s game. One of them shuffled the 40-man, with Fry, recently demoted to Norfolk, sent to the great DFA in the sky. Sulser, 28, is the younger brother of recent former Oriole Cole.

Orioles recall McKenna from Norfolk, option Reyes (Baltimore Baseball)
And here was the other roster move. With the short bench and particularly short outfield mix, the Orioles brought back Ryan McKenna and sent reliever Denyi Reyes, who pitched two scoreless innings in his Friday MLB debut, back to Norfolk.

Hometown kid Zimmermann working hard for O’s (Orioles.com)
One of the good things about the 2022 season is that Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann is pitching well enough to prompt articles like this. Not that his offense did anything at all to help him yesterday - nor for that matter did certain elements of his defense.

With subtle swing changes and a ‘five-tool’ skill set, Jorge Mateo has locked down the Orioles’ everyday shortstop role (The Baltimore Sun)
Mateo currently has 1.2 bWAR, because even though he’s been hitting slightly below-average, that’s still OK for a shortstop, and he’s been playing good defense. I’m looking forward to seeing a little more of him.

Stallings’ strong year continued with combined no-hitter (Steve Melewski)
The Orioles got Garrett Stallings in the Jose Iglesias trade about 18 months ago. The 24-year-old righty has a 2.63 ERA in five starts for Double-A Bowie so far this year, including his combined no-no. Not bad! Good luck to Garrett in rolling the success on at this level and up to the next.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

You have to go all the way back to the 2014 season to find the most recent Orioles victory on this date. This was a 2-1 victory over the Royals where a two-run home run hit by Nelson Cruz - his 12th of the season - proved to be the difference. Wei-Yin Chen was the winning pitcher and Zack Britton recorded his first of 37 saves. The team, at this point, was merely 21-18.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2009 seven-game catcher Guillermo Rodríguez, and 2002-06 pitcher Eric DuBose. Today is DuBose’s 46th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Wizard of Oz creator L. Frank Baum (1856), accidental assassination filmmaker Abraham Zapruder (1905), and tennis player Andy Murray (1987).

On this day in history...

In 1648, parties in Europe concluded the Peace of Munster, in which Spain recognized the independence of the Dutch Republic. This peace, along with other treaties signed in short order, is part of the Peace of Westphalia, which ended both the Thirty Years’ War and Eighty Years’ War.

In 1940, the first McDonald’s restaurant opened in San Bernardino, California.

In 1963, the Mercury-Atlas 9 mission launched, carrying American astronaut Gordon Cooper. On the mission, Cooper became the first American to be in space for more than a day. Cooper is also the most recent American to go into space alone.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on May 15. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!