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Monday Bird Droppings: Feeling blue in Birdland

The Orioles are on a downward trend, Adley isn’t coming to save us, and the home run chain is broken.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Monday, Camden Chatters! You probably already know this, but if not, I’m sorry to report that the weekend didn’t go as planned for the Orioles. On Friday afternoon, things were looking rosy.

The Orioles had been playing good baseball for several weeks and had just taken a series from a good team on the road. The rumor was that we were just days away from the debut of mega prospect Adley Rutschman. And the Orioles were getting ready to start a three-game series against the worst team in the American League to end their road trip.

Then things fell apart. Ryan Mountcastle went on the injured list with a forearm strain that he described as excruciating. Austin Hays dove into first base on Thursday and got his hand stepped on; he’s been out since but hasn’t been put on the IL.

The depleted lineup went into Detroit and got destroyed by the Tigers, a team that had won all of nine games before the series began. All good will that had been built up came crashing down as the team failed to score runs, failed to get hits with runners on base, failed to do pretty much anything good. Now, when I think about the Orioles, all I can think about is this Tweet sent out by Mark Brown on Thursday:

With series coming up against the Yankees, Rays, and Yankees again, it’s easy to imagine that things will continue to spiral. As Orioles fans, we’re used to it. But we’re all desperate for a time when it will no longer be the case.

Maybe the team will surprise us this week as they return home. Maybe the offense will perk up, Hays will get back in the lineup, the pitching will stay solid. I sure hope that’s the case.

Then there is that other thing we were all expecting to hear about this weekend: the promotion of Adley Rutschman. The high hope going into this weekend was that we’d get word on his promotion to the big leagues. I wasn’t the only one who had myself convinced that today would be the day that Rutschman would be making his major league debut.

Alas, no announcement has been made. It appears that Rutschman will continue on at triple-A Norfolk for now. I am hopeful that we might see him this Friday when the Rays come to town. Friday night, potential for a big crowd, and it’s fireworks night! Maybe we’ll hear in a few day that will be the case. After that the Orioles go on the road until May 31st.

And that doesn’t even mention the fact that the Orioles broke their home run chain and had to get another one. According to Melanie Newman it came from the same fan who gave them the first one, but I still feel like this is bad for mojo.

Links

Fuller, Hyde on hitting improvements this season - MASN Sports
This headline feels rich after the Tigers series over the weekend, but there are some good quotes and info in here about the hitting coaches and how they've helped the current players.

As a fringe major leaguer, Ryan McKenna hopes he can find a steady role for the Orioles – Baltimore Sun
He's fast and he can play defense. Maybe one day the Orioles will be too good to need Ryan McKenna, but until then I'd rather see him than a number of the other guys they've thrown in the outfield.

Orioles need more depth to improve - BaltimoreBaseball.com
The injuries to Ryan Mountcastle and Austin Hays have taken a lineup barely on the edge of respectability and turned it into an complete disaster.

Birthdays and History

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have three Orioles birthday buddies. Dave Philley (b. 1920, d. 2012) played for the Orioles from 1955-56 and 1960-61. In 228 games with the Orioles, Philly hit .267/.337/.384 (OPS+ 99). He had a 19-year major league career.

It’s also the birthday of two very short timers. Luis Sardiñas (29) played in eight games for the 2018 team. At least, that’s what the internet tells me. I have no memory of that. And Ivanon Coffie (45) appeared in 23 games for the Orioles in 2000.

On this day in 1984, the Orioles released pitcher Jim Palmer. They offered him a job with the organization but he declined, hoping to find another pitching gig. He did not. Luckily for us, Palmer did come back to the organization as a broadcaster and has been with us for many years in that capacity.

In 1999, the Orioles beat the Rangers 16-5 thanks in part to Mike Bordick’s four hits and Albert Belle’s two home runs. Every starter had at least two hits in the win.

In 2017, Chris Davis hit two home runs...in extra innings! He gave the Orioles the lead with a home run in the 12th inning, which the Orioles blew. He homered again in the 13th and that was the difference maker. Orioles won, 13-11.