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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Playing down to the competition

Mock drafts, Kjerstad shining, and Lyles leading.

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MLB: Washington Nationals at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Well, so much for the idea of a quick sweep over an inferior opponent. The Orioles offense didn’t show up to their 3-0 loss on Tuesday night. They managed just four measly hits against a Nationals pitching staff that has been getting knocked around all season long.

At least Ryan Mountcastle stayed rather hot at the plate with a pair of hits, and Adley Rutschman smacked another double. Plus, the O’s pitching did a nice job. Jordan Lyles didn’t look amazing, but the end result was great! Allowing only two runs over 6.1 innings will always be acceptable. Keegan Akin took one for the bullpen and finished out the final 2.2 frames.

But the loss is a bummer, and part of a trend in which the Orioles seem to play down to competition. They just finished up a winning week that included a series split against the Blue Jays and a series win over the Rays, two good teams. Then they lay an egg in the opener here. It is similar to when they were swept by the Tigers earlier in the year, or when they lost two of three to the Mariners.

It is also only one game, and baseball is the sport, more-so than any other, where any team can win on a given day. The Orioles just happen to lose in these sort of situations more often than you would like.


MLB Mock Draft 2.0: Druw Jones goes No. 1 to Orioles | The Athletic
Keith Law admits here that he does not know who the Orioles are going to pick. The organization is tight-lipped. But he does say that Druw Jones is the best player in this draft, by a hair, and so that is why he sends him to Baltimore. If not Jones, Law thinks they go with Jackson Holliday or Elijah Green.

Orioles prospect Heston Kjerstad ‘enjoying the crap out of’ strong debut for Delmarva after two lost years | The Baltimore Sun
I’m not sure how the baseball industry regards Heston Kjerstad after the last two years. As an advanced college hitter, it could have reasonably been expected that he would be knocking on the big league door by now. Instead, he is way down in Delmarva. But he sure is doing whatever he can to jump up a level sooner rather than later, going 12-for-30 so far. If he can spend a few months in Aberdeen before the summer is out, that feels like a win.

‘#1 Dad’ Lyles leads by example for young O’s rotation |
The Jordan Lyles signing was not particularly sexy, and he has not been particularly “good.” But he is doing exactly what the Orioles need, and Tuesday was another good example of that. He is averaging nearly 5.2 innings per outing and has an ERA under five. Is that worth $6 million? Maybe not on a playoff contender, but it probably is for a team looking to groom young starters and plan for the future.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Engelb Vielma is 28 today. He played in just six games for the 2018 Orioles, although the way in which his name lent itself to be turned into a number of anagrams did spark the interest of at least one website. Not the worst legacy to leave behind.
  • Willie Harries turns 44. The utility infielder began his 12-season big league career with a nine-game stint on the 2001 Orioles.
  • Esteban Yan is 47 years old. The righty made his way into seven games with the Orioles between 1996 and ‘97.
  • Brian Sackinsky turns 51 today. The Orioles liked him so much that they drafted him twice, first in 1989 and then again in 1992. Eventually he played in three games for the club during their 1996 season.
  • Mike Anderson is 71 today. He spent the 1978 season as a reserve outfielder for the O’s, posting an unbelievable -4 OPS+ over 53 games (36 plate appearances).
  • Russ Snyder is 88 years old. The Nebraska native was a solid contributor to the Orioles from 1962 through 1967, winning a World Series in ‘66 and posting a 101 OPS+ during his time in Baltimore.

This day in O’s history

1962 - Boog Powell becomes the first player to hit a home run over the hedge in center field at Memorial Stadium. The blast goes 469 feet.