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Monday Bird Droppings: Orioles’ fans optimism is being tested

The O’s have had an unimpressive homestand, their best prospect is struggling mightily in the majors, and their second best prospect is out for at least three months. Things aren’t great, folks.

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MLB: Cleveland Guardians at Baltimore Orioles Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Was it really less than a week ago that we were feeling like the Orioles had turned a corner? They were coming off a solid road trip through New York and Boston, they were returning to Camden Yards for Adley Rutschman’s first full homestand as a big leaguer, and Grayson Rodriguez was dominating Triple-A, seemingly on the brink of a callup himself.

One miserable week sure can deflate those good vibes in a hurry.

Yesterday the Orioles received dour news about Rodriguez, who was diagnosed a grade 2 lat strain that forced him out of Wednesday’s start at Norfolk. General manager Mike Elias told reporters that he expects the injury to sideline Rodriguez for around three months, saying the club is targeting September for his return.

September! That’s forever from now! And it could well ruin any chance of Rodriguez making his MLB debut this season. Orioles fans who had been hotly anticipating his arrival in the coming weeks will now, in all likelihood, have to wait until 2023.

Meanwhile, the Orioles’ recently promoted mega-prospect, Adley Rutschman, took another 0-for-4 in yesterday’s loss to Cleveland and is now batting a meager .137 with a .424 OPS in 13 big league games. He has yet to homer or drive in a run. Thirteen games is nothing in the grand scheme of things, and there’s little doubt he’ll turn things around eventually, but it’s no fun to see him struggling mightily at the dish after all the excitement that accompanied his debut.

The rest of the Orioles haven’t been particularly impressive on this homestand, either, with the club going 2-4 and losing both series to a pair of sub-.500 teams, the Mariners and Guardians. This was supposed to be an easier stretch of the schedule for the Orioles, but it hasn’t played out that way so far.

The O’s still have a chance to salvage a .500 homestand if they can sweep their brief two-game series against the Cubs that starts tomorrow. Perhaps that will help wash away the stink of what has been a pretty lousy week in Birdland.


Gammons: Orioles enter a new era with Adley Rutschman’s debut, but expectations must be realistic - The Athletic
In case you’re starting to feel a little down about Rutschman, Peter Gammons has some nice things to say about the youngster and his role in the Orioles’ rebuild.

Calling the Pen: Orioles’ Hyde has managed to become a leader -
Brandon Hyde has developed into more than just a placeholder manager, writes Jack Gibbons. One thing I’ll say about him: he has the patience of a saint to put up with some of the Orioles baseball we’ve witnessed for the last four years.

Orioles releasing Jahmai Jones is a reminder that nothing is given in a rebuild - The Baltimore Sun
Just a year ago at this time, Orioles fans were frothing at the mouth for the O’s to call up Jones, the club’s best second base prospect. Since then he’s been ineffective, then hurt, and now released. Life comes at you fast.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Only one Oriole in history has a June 6 birthday: outfielder Merv Rettenmund, who spent six years with the Birds and homered in the 1970 World Series for the eventual champions. “Mervelous Merv,” as nobody called him, turns 79 today, so an extra happy birthday to him.

The Orioles have a stellar 41-26 record on this date in history. A year ago today they had their most prolific offensive showing of the season, plating 18 runs and 21 hits in an 18-5 destruction of Cleveland. Eight different Orioles had multi-hit games and Cedric Mullins and Ramon Urias both went deep. The 18 runs were five more than the O’s scored in any other game that season.

Speaking of blowouts, on this day in 1967 the Orioles swept a doubleheader against the Angels by a combined score of 27-5. In game one, Curt Blefary belted three home runs and drove in seven, as the O’s scored 11 runs in the final two innings to turn a once-close game into a 16-4 laugher. In the nightcap, Brooks Robinson and pitcher Tom Phoebus each homered, and Phoebus tossed a complete game, for an 11-1 victory.

And on this day in 2010, the Orioles snapped a 10-game losing streak with a walkoff win over the Red Sox. Though the O’s blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth, they won it in the 11th on Nick Markakis’ bloop single to score Cesar Izturis. The win was the first for interim manager Juan Samuel, who had taken over for the fired Dave Trembley three days earlier.