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Tuesday Bird Droppings: The Orioles held serve on their AL East trip

The O’s went 4-4 on their trek through the Bronx and Boston, and now get to return home to some less-than-stellar opponents.

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

You know, there was a time in the not-too-distant past when an Orioles road trip through New York or Boston — let alone both in one fell swoop — most likely would have turned out badly for the Birds. Prior to this trip, the Orioles were 23-46 against the Yankees and Red Sox on the road since 2018, including an ugly three-game sweep in the Bronx this May. All too often, the O’s were simply overmatched and outmanned by their high-profile divisional foes.

Maybe, just maybe, that’s starting to change. The Orioles more than weathered their just-completed eight-game swing through the two cities, finishing with a 4-4 record that they punctuated with a 10-0 rout at Fenway Park last night. The Birds had four well-played wins — including their outstanding comeback from a six-run deficit to the Sox on Friday — and even most of their losses were competitive. Aside from a lopsided 12-2 defeat Sunday, the Orioles’ other losses all were by either one or two runs.

Now the O’s return to Camden Yards for an eight-game homestand against three teams that — on paper, at least — should be less formidable opponents. The Mariners, Guardians, and Cubs all have losing records, and in fact they all have fewer wins this season than the Orioles. Granted, there’s no such thing as an easy win for an O’s team that, despite our cautious optimism, is still a last-place club. Still, they have a chance to string some victories together and build some momentum in front of the home fans.

The Orioles’ overall June schedule is — again, on paper — pretty favorable. Only seven of their 26 games this upcoming month will come against teams that are currently above .500. Is this when the Orioles finally get their first winning month since August 2017? A guy can dream.

Links

Orioles come out swinging early and Wells is untouchable in 10-0 win (updated) - School of Roch
Worth noting: Ramón Urías homered for the Orioles on the same day his brother, Luis, homered for the Brewers. You gotta love baseball.

Orioles infielder Ramón Urías getting more regular playing time in Baltimore - The Athletic
Speaking of Urías, he sat down for an interview with Dan Connolly and seems like a pretty humble dude. He even says his brother is a better player than he is. Which may be true, but still.

Minor Monday: Power surge for Stowers at Norfolk - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Kyle Stowers is starting to put up gaudy power numbers again like he did last year. If he were an infielder, he’d be up with the Orioles already, but unfortunately for him the O’s are pretty well stocked with outfielders at the moment.

The O’s build-a-’pen from almost scratch has been working big so far - Steve Melewski
When the Orioles’ Opening Day roster was announced, I wrote, “That bullpen alone...woof.” As usual, I know absolutely nothing. The collection of waiver claims and castoffs has emerged as a major strength for the club, proving me and the other doubters wrong.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 72nd birthday to longtime lefty reliever and member of the Orioles Hall of Fame, Tippy Martinez. After being acquired in a huge 1976 trade with the Yankees, Martinez spent parts of 11 seasons in an O’s uniform, making 499 appearances and racking up 105 saves and a 3.46 ERA. He also made history in 1983 by picking off three baserunners in one inning. Also celebrating a birthday today is 1988-92 outfielder Joe Orsulak (60).

The Orioles’ last win on this date came in 2019 in a 9-6 slugfest against the Giants. The O’s gave up five runs in the top of the first, only to score six runs of their own in the bottom half, including a go-ahead grand slam by Dwight Smith Jr. Former O’s farmhand Mike Yastrzemski, whom the club gave away for nothing in Mike Elias’ worst trade to date, tied the score with a homer in the second off Andrew Cashner, but Trey Mancini’s two-run shot in the bottom of the inning put the O’s back in front for good.

And on this day in 2013, the O’s pulled off a come-from-behind, walkoff win over the Tigers on a two-out, three-run homer by Chris Dickerson in the bottom of the ninth. The O’s, who trailed by two entering the inning, got one closer on a Nick Markakis leadoff homer against Jose Valverde, then put runners at the corners with nobody out. Valverde almost pulled off a great escape, retiring the next two batters on pop-ups, before Dickerson launched the game-winner into the bleachers in front of a raucous sellout crowd of 46,249.