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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Austin Hays cycle is another fun thing about these Orioles

Hays delivered the fourth Orioles cycle since 2006 in last night’s game. That was fun, you guys.

Washington Nationals v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

I’ve written this about the 2022 Orioles before and will say it again: This team is fun. That’s not to say they’re good, because their record is what it is and it isn’t good. They are fun nonetheless. For the first time in what feels like forever, there is potential for something cool and good to happen in every game, and even in many of their losses they manage to show enough signs of life to where it doesn’t all feel hopeless.

Last night’s rainy game against the Nationals proved to be the latest example. Out of nowhere, Austin Hays hit for the cycle! He is only the sixth player in franchise history to do this, and he will hold the distinction of being the first player to get the cycle in six innings or fewer. He batted four times and got four hits in this order: Single, home run, triple, double. It’s a good thing he did this in only six innings, because that’s how long the game ended up being.

Add to this that Hays got an assist from the outfield when he threw out Juan Soto, who was trying to advance from first to third on a single in the first inning. It was a good night for him and for the Orioles in general. Some year maybe soon there will be more good games than bad ones in a season.

After last night’s victory, the Orioles are 31-39 for the season. They’ve played .500 baseball since May 3, when they were 8-16. Last year’s Orioles at one point had a record of 31-64. The team has flaws that could get worse, but improvement feels real. We know this is not the best version of a team that could be fielded within the next couple of years even only counting players currently in the organization. That’s cool! The Orioles are now on pace for a 72-90 record. That would also be cool if they stay at this pace or better.

I continue to have my eye on whether the Orioles can pull off their first winning full month of baseball since August 2017. Last night’s win leaves them at 10-9 for the month of June. They will play four on the road against the White Sox, starting with one tonight, then three in Seattle. They need to go 4-3 in those seven games. It feels doable but it’ll be tough; the O’s are 13-22 on the road so far this season.

These aren’t good teams. This also doesn’t matter. As we know, the Orioles are capable of going on the road and getting swept by the Tigers. Each of the White Sox and Mariners are better than the Tigers.

It’s an 8:10 opener for the Orioles tonight since they’re in Central time. Dean Kremer is set to make his fourth big league start of the season, with Johnny Cueto pitching for Chicago. Cueto has been great so far this year, entering this outing with a 2.95 ERA. He’s only made six starts to date. Maybe he’s due for regression.

The Orioles had a late night with having to travel after the game was finally truncated. The White Sox played a home game yesterday afternoon. I’m not saying Rob Manfred was personally involved in this injustice, but I have no way of knowing he wasn’t.

Around the blogO’sphere

After watching ‘Top Gun,’ Orioles rookie Adley Rutschman a mustache. But it won’t be here long. (The Baltimore Sun)
Adley Rutschman’s mustache as reached “beat writers asked him about it” levels. He’s apparently not planning to keep it for long, which I think is the correct decision.

Hyde isn’t sure about Orioles starter for Saturday (Baltimore Baseball)
One hint may be found in that Spenser Watkins only pitched one inning last night, apparently intentionally. Don’t look up how Bruce Zimmermann fared in relief of Watkins.

Hays on All-Star balloting and his first priority (School of Roch)
Austin Hays hitting for the cycle last night certainly won’t hurt his case to be the Orioles All-Star representative this season. I continue to look forward to the time when there is more than one Oriole on an All-Star roster.

Urías (oblique) starts ramp-up (Orioles.com)
Ramón Urías is on the way back, though there’s still no timetable for his return.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The most recent Orioles victory on this day came four years ago. The 2018 team grabbed four runs in the first inning on a Mark Trumbo grand slam and came out on top 7-5 against Atlanta despite some later bullpen struggles. Former Oriole Nick Markakis drove in three runs for the other team. With the win, the O’s were 23-52. Ouch.

One current Oriole has a birthday today! Happy 27th to Jorge Mateo. It’s also the birthday of a pair of former Orioles. They are: 2009-11 pitcher Mark Hendrickson, and 1968 reserve infielder Lorencito Fernández.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Japanese daimyo Oba Nobunaga (1534), early computer scientist Alan Turing (1912), Baltimore Ravens relocator Art Modell (1925), dancer/choreographer Bob Fosse (1927), and actress Frances McDormand (1957).

On this day in history...

In 1314, the Scottish defeated the English in the Battle of Bannockburn despite being outnumbered more than 2-1. The victory effectively secured Scotland’s independence from England, though it took another 14 years for this to be recognized by treaty.

In 1972, President Richard Nixon and his chief of staff were on tape discussing ways that the CIA might obstruct the FBI’s investigation of the Watergate break-ins.

In 1991, the original Sonic the Hedgehog was released in North America, ahead of a Japanese release the next month. The franchise has seen dozens of game releases since, as well as a couple of movies in recent years. I still haven’t seen the movies and find it weird that the first one was enough of a success to have a second.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on June 23. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!