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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles will see if they’re better than a bad Royals team

Last night’s rainout gave the Orioles an unexpected night off before starting a four-game set against the last place Royals.

Chicago Cubs v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

It would have been nice to have an Orioles game from last night to talk about in this space, but that’s not how the weather worked out. The O’s and Cubs got rained out, with a makeup game to be played on August 18. For the O’s, this now sets up a stretch without off days from August 5-21, including one game against the Red Sox on August 11 and the one game against the Cubs on the 18th. The late-ending lockout made for a lot of schedule oddities.

Instead, let’s talk about the top O’s affiliate, the Norfolk Tides. Last night’s game for the Tides marked the Triple-A debut for a pair of infield prospects, Jordan Westburg and GUNNAR HENDERSON, who were themselves rained out of an intended debut on Tuesday.

When they finally got to play last night, they did not disappoint. GUNNAR cracked a home run on the second pitch he saw, the first of two hits on the night; he also drew a walk. Westburg’s night featured a single and a double, with a pair of runs driven in. These guys helped part of a whole team effort from the Tides offense as they won this one, 8-3. Pretty good stuff. Check out the rest of the minor league action in the daily Camden Chat minor league roundup.

The Orioles themselves will be back in action tonight, kicking off a four-game series against the Kansas City Royals. Things have gone poorly for the Royals so far this year. They will start this series with an 18-37 record. This does not guarantee anything for the O’s, of course, as we remember from earlier this year when the O’s got themselves swept by the similarly-poor Tigers. The O’s aren’t THAT much better than this Royals team’s record.

As the series kicks off, Bruce Zimmermann will be looking to get back to pitching better, like he did earlier in the season. He’s tonight’s starting pitcher. Hopefully good news for the Orioles offense is that they’ll be going up against KC’s Kris Bubic, who sports a 9.33 ERA through seven games this season, and has particularly been home run prone, allowing five home runs so far in 18.1 innings. This one, at least, is a should-win. After an 8:10 Eastern start, we’ll find out if they do.

Around the blogO’sphere

Orioles designate Owings for assignment (School of Roch)
To the delight of those who have tired of watching Chris Owings play for the Orioles, he was sent to the great DFA in the sky yesterday. He got 48.2% of the way to a Caleb Joseph no RBI season. (Don’t look at how close Adley Rutschman is to passing this percentage.)

In need of a turnaround, Cedric Mullins gives the Orioles hope he’s on the cusp: ‘It’s going to come’ (The Baltimore Sun)
A split of a .668 OPS over the last 14 days before yesterday isn’t going to cut it, but .828 over the last seven before yesterday might. I hope Mullins can keep it up against the Royals and beyond.

Watkins optioned, Voth won’t pitch immediately, roundup of other news (Baltimore Baseball)
One other bit of roster news from yesterday is that Spenser Watkins was activated from the injured list and optioned to Norfolk. Couldn’t they have just sent him out on a rehab assignment if they wanted him to pitch there first?

MLB Pipeline Pitching Lab: D.L. Hall (Orioles.com)
With Grayson Rodriguez on the shelf, the next hope for a pitching prospect debut in 2022 is surely D.L. Hall. I have no idea what the Orioles want to see from him before he shows up here, but I hope he can deliver it and then arrive and succeed for a long time.

Jorge López uses four-pitch mix and is thriving in the ninth inning (Steve Melewski)
The small part of me that’s superstitious is always nervous clipping links like this, for fear that López will now blow tonight’s game. That being said, López having a 1.00 ERA through 23 appearances is impressive, even considering the April-through-mid-May run environment being dampened this season.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The most recent Orioles victory on this date came in 2016. That squad overcame an early deficit by scoring runs in three of the last four innings, including a go-ahead ninth inning sacrifice fly hit by Chris Davis. Davis and Pedro Alvarez each homered in the game; Zack Britton pitched the ninth in Toronto for his 13th save. This improved the O’s to 36-23 on the season and gave them a two game lead in the AL East.

There is exactly one former Oriole who was born on this day: 2018 outfielder John Andreoli turns 32.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for this day include: Russian emperor Peter the Great (1672), composer Cole Porter (1891), guitarist Les Paul (1915), actor Michael J. Fox (1961), and actress Mae Whitman (1988).

On this day in history...

In 68, the Roman emperor Nero committed suicide, ending a five-emperor Julio-Claudian dynasty that had reigned since 27 BC. The following year saw a civil war that led to the Year of the Four Emperors.

In 1815, European powers concluded the Congress of Vienna, settling a variety of diplomatic issues and national boundaries that largely (but not entirely) stayed constant until the outbreak of World War I nearly a century later.

In 1954, Joseph Welch, a special counsel for the United States Army, delivered a famous response to Senator Joseph McCarthy during a Senate committee hearing: “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on June 9. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!