It is official. The Orioles are not going to lose 100 or more games this season. If you had gone back and told yourself in April that they would clear this hurdle before we even reached the month of September, I am sure you would not have believed it. I know I wouldn’t have. I convinced myself they wouldn’t lose 100, but I thought it would be a close thing. Like many other people, I was wrong.
Check out Paul Folkemer’s recap for the lovely totals from last night’s win #63, with the Orioles picking up a 5-3 win over the Red Sox on national television thanks to Jorge Mateo hitting a clutch eighth-inning bases-clearing double.
Having experienced our favorite baseball team succeeding as much as it has so far this season, fans in Birdland are understandably now aiming much higher than such modest milestones as “don’t lose 100 or more games for the fourth straight full-length season.” The Orioles are in the wild card race right now and it would be fun if they find their way into one of those spots at season’s end.
After last night’s win combined with results elsewhere, the Orioles are 2.5 games back of all three wild card positions in the AL. The Rays and Jays are each 65-55, technically leading the 66-56 Mariners by .001 in the standings. The O’s and the Twins are reach 2.5 games behind that pack, with the White Sox at 3.5 games.
The next Orioles opponent is the White Sox starting tomorrow, so that’s going to be one more crucial series for the team. If they lose two of three or more to Chicago, then the Orioles could potentially be behind another team as they try to chase down a playoff spot. Hope of doing that will be dim, though not yet entirely extinguished.
In a bit of bad luck for the Orioles, the White Sox being rained out yesterday means that 2022 White Sox ace Dylan Cease is being pushed back into the Orioles series. Cease has a 2.09 ERA in 24 starts this season and has struck out a phenomenal 178 batters in 133.2 innings. That’s tough, but it’s been clear for a while now that if the Orioles are going to do this thing, they’re going to have to earn it by beating some other good teams the rest of the way.
Here is one big question to ponder today. Are we going to see the Orioles call up recently-minted #1 prospect Gunnar Henderson to reinforce this team the rest of the way? This question is especially relevant today because tomorrow will mark 44 days until the end of the season. That means that Henderson could receive a call-up and still maintain his rookie eligibility for 2023; 45 days active on the MLB roster is the mark that exhausts a player’s rookie status after that season.
After Sunday’s game in Norfolk, Henderson is batting .289/.388/.520 with 11 home runs in 58 games for the Tides. This after the 21-year-old forced a promotion from Double-A by OPSing over 1.000 in 45 games there. Henderson has played a couple of games at first base and a couple at second base over the last week. This seems to be with the aim of figuring out if he can show up and play multiple positions for the MLB team from here on.
One other number to keep in mind for when Henderson might be called up. Another prong for the exhaustion of rookie status is reaching 130 big league at-bats. (For pitchers, it’s 50 innings.) If Henderson played in every one of the Orioles’ remaining 41 games, that’s 3.17 AB per game. He might top 130 in that time. Or he might not, since he walks a bit and those don’t count as AB. People already get mad enough when Terrin Vavra doesn’t play. Imagine a lineup where Henderson is on the roster but not playing on a given day.
With that 130 AB mark in mind, I wonder whether the Orioles might give Henderson an extra week to get his feet wet at different infield positions, then call him up on September 2, the start of the next homestand. That’s game 131, at which point he’d just need to say under 4.06 AB/game and could probably play as often as the O’s want to insert him into the lineup without worrying about that.
The rookie status is of interest because it would be cool, but also because of rules under the new MLB CBA, if a top prospect gets a full year of service time out of his rookie season and places high in awards (including Rookie of the Year) during his first three seasons, his team receives a bonus draft pick as a reward for aggressively choosing to play their good prospect. Mike Elias has surprised me before and will surprise me again.
If off-day scoreboard watching is a thing that interests you, the White Sox host the Royals at 2:10 Eastern. A Royals win is better for us. The Rays are at home against the Angels and the Twins will face the Rangers, both starting at 7:10. None of these three visiting teams are ones you can count on to beat the playoff contenders, but maybe one or more will surprise us.
Around the blogO’sphere
Nationally televised game gives Orioles chance to ‘showcase exactly what we’ve built here’ (The Baltimore Sun)
Before last night, the Orioles hadn’t been on one of baseball’s signature nationally televised broadcasts like Sunday Night Baseball in quite a long time. They did not do a bad job of showcasing themselves.
Latest on Henderson, Means, and Powell (School of Roch)
Surely exciting to all of those angling for immediate GUNNAR HENDERSON to the Orioles is that Roch notes that rosters expand on Sept. 1 “but it might not take that long for Henderson to debut.” I like the sound of that.
Orioles embrace chaos during shift to contenders, spoilers (Orioles.com)
I’m hoping that the Orioles do more contending than spoiling during the rest of the season - though I guess if you get down to it, contending might count as spoiling too, just in a much more fun way than the Orioles have had the opportunity to play spoiler recently.
Visit to Williamsport brings back childhood memories for the Orioles (Baltimore Baseball)
Tyler Nevin said that every birthday until he was too old, he wished to play in the Little League World Series, which is kind of adorable.
The Orioles talk about their day with Little Leaguers in Williamsport (Steve Melewski)
There was a lot of players sliding down a big hill on a piece of cardboard. I hope everyone had fun and nobody got hurt.
And almost as an afterthought with everything that was going on yesterday, there’s this bit of Orioles-related news:
We all remember Adam Jones making the catch to rob Manny Machado at the last World Baseball Classic. It is cool that this era’s Orioles will have an outfielder represented on the American team as well. That will play out prior to the 2023 MLB season.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
In 1966, Andy Etchebarren jumped into a pool to save Frank Robinson, who had fallen in and was in danger of drowning.
In 2007, the Orioles played a doubleheader against the Rangers, the first game of which produced the infamous 30-3 score. The other thing I will always remember about this day is that earlier on in the day, the O’s announced that interim manager Dave Trembley was being hired officially. What a response from the team.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2012 five-game pitcher Randy Wolf, 2005 reliever Steve Kline, and 1955 reserve Angelo Dagres.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: baseball Hall of Famer Ned Hanlon (1857), composer Claude Debussy (1862), writer Dorothy Parker (1893), author Ray Bradbury (1920), Go-go guitarist Chuck Brown (1936), baseball Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski (1939), The Sopranos creator David Chase (1945), baseball Hall of Famer Paul Molitor (1956), musician Tori Amos (1963), Wu-Tang rapper GZA (1966), and singer-songwriter Dua Lipa (1995).
On this day in history...
In 1485, the Tudors and Yorks fought the final major battle of the Wars of the Roses in the Battle of Bosworth Field. King Richard III of York was killed in the battle, ending the York reign as well as the Plantagenet dynasty; following the battle, Tudor claimant Henry took the throne as Henry VII. He reigned for 24 years.
In 1902, President Theodore Roosevelt began a tour of New England with a car ride through Connecticut. In doing so, he became the first ever US president to appear in public in an automobile.
In 1968, Pope Paul VI paid a visit to Bogotá, Colombia. In doing so, he became the first pope to ever visit Latin America.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 22. Have a safe Monday.