Good morning, Birdland!
It has been said quite a few times, but it’s worth repeating. There is something special about these Orioles. Maybe it’s just how competent they look in comparison to the quality of teams trotted out each of the last few seasons. But it feels deeper than that.
Last night’s 4-1 win over the White Sox was a good example. Obviously, winning the game is the main goal, and it’s nice that it happened. But it goes beyond that.
Jorge Mateo got plunked by Michael Kopech in the second inning, which appeared to be retaliation for Dean Kremer accidentally hitting Josh Harrison with a pitch on Thursday. The Orioles didn’t let it slide. Rougned Odor was fired up, as was Mateo and a number of others. After the dust settled, Mateo swiped second and came around to score on a Richie Martin single. That was a run manufactured out of pure rage, and it was amazing!
Even the Orioles’ announcer booth was getting in on. Jim Palmer chastised Kopech and predicted Mateo was going to steal. There is a swagger up and down the organization at the moment. It makes for some fun baseball.
In addition to that, the depth of the Orioles’ bullpen continues to impress night after night. Once again, they covered all nine innings as Brandon Hyde attempts to piece things together for a starting rotation that is increasingly injured and ineffective.
Oh yeah, Adley Rutschman also hit another double, and Austin Hays drove in a run. Those two things are becoming nightly occurrences for an offense that has been streaky but often impactful.
In this moment, it is fair to say that this Orioles team is “good.” Since the start of May, they are one game over .500. They are currently on pace for 74 wins with a schedule ahead that is more favorable than the first two-and-a-half months of the season have been.
This doesn’t mean things will continue on an upward trajectory forever, especially if the starters continue to struggle and any significant trades take away from the major league roster. But these last two months of solid play from the Orioles have effectively shifted goals and expectations of this club for the better.
Hays’ performance soaring as salary set to rise | Roch Kubatko
Regardless of what Hays is paid in 2023 it will be significantly less than what he is worth. He is playing like an all-star and the MVP of the team. This team has some intriguing outfield talents coming up through the organization, but as it stands they should be fit in around Hays, not the other way around.
‘Everything’s gonna get caught’: Orioles outfielders Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins share favorite parts of each other’s defense | The Baltimore Sun
It would be interesting to know how Hays feels bouncing between the two corner outfield spots on a regular basis. The Orioles seem to move him to whichever corner they have deemed more difficult in a given stadium. That is probably a tough assignment, and likely impacts some of the advanced metrics that don’t particularly fancy his defense in 2022.
Injuries & Moves: Bradish (shoulder) to IL | Orioles.com
Hopefully the inflammation has been the cause of Kyle Bradish’s early-career struggles. The O’s need someone (anyone!) to step up and give the team a viable fourth option in the rotation alongside Tyler Wells, Dean Kremer, and Jordan Lyles. Bradish will be back, and then he is likely to be joined by Matt Harvey. I know, I know. That’s where we are at this point.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Luke Scott turns 44. The outfielder had a four-year stint in Baltimore from 2008 through 2011, accumulating 7.9 bWAR and 118 OPS+ in that time.
- Ryan Kohlmeier celebrates his 45th. His big league career spanned two seasons in the O’s bullpen from 2000 through 2001.
- Dick Drago turns 77 today. The righty spent part of the 1977 campaign as an Orioles reliever.
This day in O’s history
1961 - The Orioles and Angels combine to use 16 pitchers, a major league record for a single game. The Orioles prevail in the 14th inning on a Ron Hansen home run.
2000 - O’s lefty Jesse Orosco makes his 1,051st relief appearance, breaking the major league record.
2001 - Tony Batista is claimed off waivers by the Orioles after the Blue Jays tried to demote him to the minors.