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Monday Bird Droppings: These Orioles just never quit

A series win, an off day, and some draft notes.

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

These Orioles are just a fun, resilient group, aren’t they? On paper, Sunday should have been a throwaway kind of game. Instead, the O’s persevered, the bullpen was fantastic, the defense pulled off a few nice plays, and the offense did just enough to get by.

Personally, I keep waiting for the wheels to fall off of the bullpen, but it refuses to happen. Nick Vespi is effective each time out. And the 1-2-3 punch of Félix Bautista, Cionel Pérez, and Jorge López is among the best in the league.

Outside of the pitching, Rougned Odor deserves a shoutout for continuing to be the heart and soul of this team. Metrics suggest he is not terribly productive, and I think the eye test would agree. But he also always seems to be in the middle of important things happening on the field. On Sunday he made a key relay throw home and made a nice play at second base charging in on a bouncer to the right side. I’m not sure how you quantify what he adds to the team, but it is valuable.

The O’s have an off day before a two-game set against the Nationals. It feels odd to say, but the O’s will be eyeing a sweep there. The Nationals stink, and the Orioles are legitimately good at home.

Links

‘Stuff. Grit. López’: Winning formula for O’s ‘pen | MLB.com
Austin Voth was also very good in this game. That could be important when it comes time to lose a pitcher from this roster. I was in favor of ditching Voth. Now it feels like Bryan Baker could be on the chopping block, or maybe they just demote Mike Baumann again.

Why Baltimore hasn’t drafted pitching recently — and why that ‘maybe’ will change this year | The Baltimore Sun
I appreciate that the Orioles enter the draft with a pretty clear plan. They are going to prioritize advanced college hitters where possible, and then nab projectable talent where they see value. So far, it has seemed like a fine strategy, and the talk is that this draft is light on pitching, at least early. So it might be a good chance to stay on the established path.

Orioles rely again on resiliency and are rewarded | Roch Kubatko
There is no quit in the 2022 Orioles. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain that mentality all season, particularly through the trade deadline, when they may lose some big names.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Félix Bautista turns 27. The flamethrower has been a revelation in the Orioles bullpen this season, pitching to a 1.59 ERA over 30 appearances as a rookie.
  • Thomas Eshelman is 28. A recurring name during the most recent dark stretch of Orioles baseball, the soft-tossing Eshelman took on a swingman role between 2019-21.
  • Kevin Gregg is 44 years old. He spent two seasons in Baltimore from 2011-12, and is best remembered for plunking David Ortiz, which sparked a brawl at Fenway.
  • Paul Bako turns 50. He spent 12 years in the bigs, mostly as a backup catcher, something he did for the Orioles in 2007.
  • Juan Castro is also 50. Despite being worth -5.4 bWAR for his career, Castro played 17 major league seasons, including a 54-game stint with the O’s in 2008.
  • Phil Huffman celebrates his 64th. His O’s stay lasted just two games in 1985.
  • Tony Chevez turns 69. He played in four games for the ‘77 Birds.
  • The late Andy Etchebarren (b. 1943, d. 2019) was born on this day. He was a key piece of two Orioles World Series squads and made two all-star teams during his stint with the Birds (1962, 1965-75).

This day in O’s history

1992 - Kelly Saunders fills in for Rex Barney as the Orioles public address announcer, only the second time a woman has ever served in this role at a major league game.

1970 - Brooks Robinson records the 2,000th hit of his major league career. It’s a three-run homer to give the Orioles a 5-2 lead over the Washington Senators.