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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Orioles near end of brutal schedule stretch

It’s been a long time since the Orioles have had an off day, Chirinos becomes a mentor, and Rutschman brings energy.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Last night was one of those games that the Orioles probably win if it happens on a different day. The team is nearing the end of a brutal stretch of schedule in which they play 19 games in 18 days. It all started with a double header, included a game in which the starting pitcher was unable to record a single out, and has seen the team play three extra-inning games in the last five days. All that is to the say the bullpen is being stretched to the absolute max, and Brandon Hyde does not always have his preferred plethora of pitchers available.

Rougned Odor’s clutch 7th-inning home run put the Birds ahead, but with arms like Félix Bautista and Jorge López likely unavailable, Hyde opted for rookie Logan Gillaspie to follow up Bruce Zimmermann. It didn’t work out, and eventually the game went to extras, where anything can happen. Bryan Baker came on for the 11th, likely with the plan being for him to go multiple innings if needed. He struggled, and that was the ball game.

Coughing up a late lead is never fun, particularly when it came against a suddenly scuffling Yankees squad that saw Aaron Judge go 0-for-5 with two strikeouts and Giancarlo Stanton leave with an injury. It was not their A-lineup by the end of the game.

However, it’s not the bullpen’s fault that the top three hitters in the Orioles lineup combined to go 0-for-15 with three strikeouts. That makes winning a game mighty tough. But these things happen, and there are still positives to takeaway.

First is Odor. He has his OPS up to .652 now along with an OPS+ of 88. That would be his highest mark since 2018, when he was a viable everyday player. It’s starting to look like he could stick around through the end of the year.

And how about Keegan Akin? No hits, no runs, and six strikeouts over 2.1 innings of work. The start to his big league career was rocky, but the O’s may have just found the perfect role for him.

Links

With chest bumps and confidence, Adley Rutschman bringing energy to Orioles pitchers | The Baltimore Sun
While I would like to see Adley Rutschman rip the cover off of the baseball at the plate, I am most interested to see how he adjusts defensively in the major leagues. That is the area of his game that has long been praised for being mature, and it will set him apart from the rest of the league. The hitting will come, but his impact on defense should be rather immediate.

Elias’ view of Hall and Rodriguez from an opposing organization | Roch Kubatko
This is a neat story about how Mike Elias was evaluating DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez when he was with the Astros. He straight up admits that the Astros weren’t really in on Rodriguez at all, partly because they didn’t think he would get to their pick but also because when they saw him pitch it was not particularly impressive. I’m glad things have changed.

Orioles’ Chirinos catches on to new role, mentoring Rutschman | Baltimore Baseball
In retrospect, the Orioles seem to have nabbed a pretty great slate of veterans this offseason in Odor, Robinson Chirinos, and Jordan Lyles. Odor acts like the spiritual leader of the team. Chirinos appears happy enough to mentor Rutschman. And Lyles said after his most recent start that he knows why he is here—to eat innings and protect the young arms. Maybe I’m wrong, but I’m not so sure every older player is so willing to admit that they are a stopgap.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Fernando Lunar turns 45. The catcher appeared in 75 games with the O’s across three seasons from 2000-03.
  • Miguel Tejada is 48 today. The infielder had two stints with the O’s. The first was from 2004-07, when he earned three all-star appearances, two Silver Slugger awards, MVP consideration, and put up individual seasons in which he led the league in RBI and doubles. He returned to the team for one season in 2010.
  • Melvin Rosario is 49. His big league career lasted four games, all with the 1997 O’s.
  • Andrés Mora (1955-2015) spent three seasons with the O’s from 1976-78 as a fourth outfielder.
  • Bill Dillman celebrates his 77th. The pitcher had a 4.35 ERA over 32 appearances for the 1967 Birds.
  • Jim Marshall turns 91 years old. He began his five years in MLB with 85 games on the 1958 Orioles, compiling a 76 OPS+ in that time.

This day in O’s history

1965 - The National Brewery Company, a Baltimore-based brewing company, buys 64,000 shares of stock in the Orioles. That move “promotes” National Brewery Company head Jerry Hoffberger from minority owner of the O’s to chairman of the board.