For the Orioles, the All-Star break is over and the second half of the season is here. Thanks to their carrying a .500 record into the break, this year marks the first one in the last several seasons where the month of July is something other than a dour processional towards the trade deadline, wondering which beloved, liked, or tolerated Orioles would be traded next, with hope deferred for another year and no feeling of a promise that it might soon arrive.
Guys could still end up being traded away from this team, especially if the homestand starting tonight, which will feature three games against the Yankees and four against the Rays, goes poorly. A 2-5 record over the next week and the idea that the Orioles exist on the fringe of the wild card race will probably be over for the season, barring ripping off another double-digit winning streak later.
What’s different about this year compared to previous years is at least it feels like the team is on the cusp of getting to a better place where they might be able to stay for a little while. Some of the team’s holes in the lineup and rotation have rather obvious, Triple-A-performing prospects who should be here before too much longer, and if those guys live up to hopes for them, then this already-decent team can really do something interesting.
I’d like to believe that interesting thing will start playing out in August and September of this season, but that’s a heart thing rather than a head thing. The Orioles have the toughest second-half schedule of any American League team. In particular, they have 15 games against the Blue Jays that will be squeezed in between August 8 (first second-half game against the Jays) and October 5 (end of season). That’s a lot of games. There aren’t many sub-.500 teams left on the calendar for the O’s.
One bit of news snuck its way in to the last off day of the break. MLB insider Jon Heyman was the first to report that the Orioles are in agreement on a contract with #1 overall pick Jackson Holliday. The deal is pending a physical, so it has yet to be announced by the Orioles. The reported bonus is $8.19 million, which is a record for a high school draft pick. It’s also about $650,000 below slot value for the #1 pick, giving the Orioles money to use on some of their later round picks.
Hopefully the process is complete in time to introduce Holliday at Camden Yards during one of the games of this homestand. I’m rooting for Monday’s game, personally, since I’ve already got tickets to that one.
The Orioles are back in action at 7:05 tonight against the Yankees. The Yankees had to play a doubleheader in Houston against the Astros yesterday and were swept. One way of looking at this is that they’ve come out of the break complacent and lifeless and are ripe for picking up some wins. Another is that maybe now they’ll be mad and they’ll stomp on the O’s. We’ll see tonight! Tyler Wells and Jameson Taillon are the scheduled starting pitchers.
Around the blogO’sphere
UMd standout Maxwell Costes signs with hometown O’s as undrafted free agent (Orioles.com)
There aren’t going to be many players drafted or signed by the Orioles this year who are easier to root for than Costes. As a UDFA senior sign, the odds are stacked against him to go far, but good luck to him all the same.
The Orioles and their fans have ‘a taste of what winning feels like.’ It’s given them an appetite for more. (The Baltimore Sun)
As former Oriole Adam Jones was fond of saying, #StayHungry.
He’s rolling at Norfolk and Jordan Westburg moves into top 100 lists (Steve Melewski)
“He’s rolling” does require you not to look at either the “last 7 days” or “last 28 days” splits for Jordan Westburg! But I like the over .900 OPS at Norfolk overall and hope he can play his way to Baltimore soon.
A longer look at Beck (School of Roch)
Roch digs in a bit more on the Orioles 12th round pick, Jared Beck, whose most initially interesting characteristic is that he’s listed at seven feet tall. Seven feet!
Finally, here is a rumor of whose quality I am not convinced enough to build a whole news post around it, but it is interesting enough as some fodder for discussion in the comments:
Source: #Mets have spoken with the #Orioles and expressed “lots of interest” in Trey Mancini and Jorge Lopez. Doubt exists over Lopez’s availability, but Mancini is thought likely to be dealt. Additionally, the Mets believe #Cubs David Robertson is an “ideal fit” for the bullpen.— Michael Marino (@MichaelMarino37) July 21, 2022
The most frequent Mets DH is J.D. Davis, who has a .670 OPS. Mancini’s nearly 100 points above that, and that’s not even getting into how he’s been impacted by the wall in a way that he wouldn’t playing for any other team. They should want him!
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
The Orioles have not been victorious on this date since the 2016 season, when they knocked off the then-Indians, 5-1. Mark Trumbo’s three-run first inning home run, his 29th dinger of the season, provided all the runs the O’s would need. They improved to 55-40 with the win and took possession of first place in the AL East, which they held for another week.
One lone former Oriole has a birthday today. Happy 28th to 2017-2021 reliever Tanner Scott.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Statue of Liberty inscription poet Emma Lazarus (1849), baseball Hall of Famer Jesse Haines (1893), longtime Jeopardy host Alex Trebek (1940), Parliament-Funkadelic leader George Clinton (1941), actor Danny Glover (1946), composer Alan Menken (1949), wrestler Shawn Michaels (1965), and singer/actress Selena Gomez (1992).
On this day in history...
In 1456, Hungarian leader John Hunyadi counterattacked to break up the Ottoman Empire’s siege of Belgrade, a victory that paused Ottoman conquest of Europe for almost 70 years.
In 1812, the future Duke of Wellington (Arthur Wellesley) led a British/Portuguese army to victory over the French in the Battle of Salamanca. This French defeat was a significant one in the Peninsular Wars, though Napoleon’s forces fought on for another two years.
In 1933, Wiley Post returned his airplane to Floyd Bennett Field in New York City, seven days, 18 hours, and 49 minutes after departing that same field. In the intervening time, Post completed the first solo flight around the world.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 22. Have a safe Friday. Go O’s!