clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles lineup could use a jolt... like Gunnar Henderson?

Last night’s Orioles loss sets up an important rubber match today. Gunnar Henderson won’t be there, but I still hope he shows up soon.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Chicago White Sox v Baltimore Orioles
Ramón Urías is not getting it done lately.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

If the Orioles get themselves to the end of the season and come up just a game or two short of a wild card spot, last night’s loss is going to be one of the ones that’s still causing some consternation. After pulling off the surprise on Tuesday, the Orioles really needed a strong follow-up when facing a White Sox pitcher with a 5+ ERA. Sadly, they did not do so. Check out John Beers’s recap of the game for the not-so-lovely totals.

For my money, the dumbest thing to happen in the game was when Rougned Odor walked on four pitches to load the bases and Jorge Mateo followed by swinging at the first pitch and grounded into a double play. At this point, the Orioles only trailed 3-1. Mateo swung at a pitch that was not in the strike zone and ended up with the worst outcome. Baseball: Sometimes it sucks.

A late two-run home run by Austin Hays made the score look closer than it actually felt for most of the game. The woes of a number of hitters continue, and that’s playing out nightly, especially in losses. Those who are looking to see some new faces replacing the strugglers were surely not heartened, as neither Terrin Vavra nor Kyle Stowers started the game.

That’s because right-handed Lucas Giolito has reverse splits on the season, perhaps making the left-handed Vavra and Stowers bad matches. We heard a similar story with the lineup for Saturday’s loss against the other Sox, when Michael Wacha pitched for Boston. The Orioles avoided playing Vavra and Stowers there too and what they got was a goose egg until Wacha was out of the game. Perhaps it’s a little too easy to second-guess and say that looks like overthinking. But... it looks like overthinking.

All week there have been plenty of people agitating to see 21-year-old #1 overall prospect Gunnar Henderson join the push for a playoff spot here. There is nothing new to say there except that I hope it happens soon. Today seems unlikely - it would be weird even by Mike Elias “announce Adley Rutschman’s promotion at 8am on the day of it happening, and also it’s the Preakness” standards to bring up Henderson for the last game of a homestand. I sure hope we see him for the start of the next homestand on Sept. 2, though.

The out-of-town scoreboard was unkind to the Orioles. They lost ground to both the Rays and the Jays, who each won extra-inning games on Wednesday. The only thing keeping it from being a complete disaster is that the Mariners were unexpectedly beaten by the Nationals.

This leaves the Orioles 2.5 games out of the third wild card spot in the AL, currently held by those Mariners. It’s a doable margin. It just would have been a lot more doable if the offense had showed up yesterday and they were only 1.5 games back with 39 to play instead. Especially since Seattle has such an easy schedule the rest of the way, yesterday’s loss notwithstanding.

Today’s series finale offers the Orioles a chance to make up for yesterday’s disappointment. They basically need to win every non-Astros series remaining this season if they’re going to actually do this thing instead of come up a few games short. Jordan Lyles pitches for the O’s in the 7:05 game, with Lance Lynn starting for the White Sox. Lynn, like Giolito, has a 5+ ERA. This is not must-win, but the math is going to get pretty tough if they can’t win this series, with a two-city road trip to face two division leaders looming.

Around the blogO’sphere

Gunnar Henderson’s call-up to Orioles appears imminent, but is it the right move? (The Athletic)
The Orioles aren’t the only organization that could stand to have a prospect replace a longer-tenured veteran who’s not doing much to earn continued playing time.

MLB schedule is out, and there’s a twist for ‘23 (
Next year’s schedule will be the first one where every team plays every other team every season. Orioles fans can be delighted to have six fewer games per year against each AL East opponent. Some national baseball media voices, including people who I think often have great opinions, have been critical of this new wrinkle in the schedule, but they are wrong and should go and think about what they’ve done. As for the 2023 Orioles, their season begins on March 30 in Boston.

Orioles claim Phoenix Sanders off waivers (School of Roch)
Rising from the ashes of the waiver wire is reliever Phoenix Sanders, who comes from the Rays organization. Hopefully he has a better tenure than Louis Head, who also was a Rays waiver claim and who was prominently involved in stinking up the joint on the way to last night’s loss.

With a bright orange championship belt, the latest Orioles tradition decides the player of the game (The Baltimore Sun)
I think that the Orioles need to find a way to hand out the new belt 24 more times to guarantee themselves a wild card spot. A 24-15 stretch isn’t daunting compared to how they’ve played since Adley Rutschman arrived, but scoring three or fewer runs seven times in the last two weeks makes it feel a lot more daunting. They’re 0-7 in those games.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The most recent Orioles victory on this date was just last year! It was a notable win for the team because they snapped their 19-game losing streak with a 10-6 beating of the Angels - and they even overcame Shohei Ohtani pitching and hitting to do it. A five-run eighth inning rally that included two different run-scoring walks proved to be the difference. The O’s were 39-86 after the win.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2019 five-game pitcher Chandler Shepherd, 2002-03 outfielder Gary Matthews, 1999-2000 outfielder Albert Belle, and 1962 six-game catcher Darrell Johnson.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Russian founding tsar Ivan the Terrible (1530), composer/conductor Leonard Bernstein (1918), actor Sean Connery (1930), baseball Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers (1946), KISS musician Gene Simmons (1949), country artist Billy Ray Cyrus (1961), TV chef Rachael Ray (1968), and actress Rachel Bilson (1981).

On this day in history...

In 1814, the British burning of Washington continued, with troops setting fire to the Library of Congress, Treasury Department, and War Department buildings. All important records had been removed prior to the attack.

In 1914, during World War I, the German Army intentionally set fire to the library of the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium. It’s believed that hundreds of thousands of manuscripts from the Renaissance and Gothic periods were lost in the fire.

In 1944, during World War II, the city of Paris was liberated by the Allies after the surrender of the German garrison, more than four years after its capture.

In 1981, the Voyager 2 spacecraft made its closest approach to Saturn, and exactly eight years later, it reached its closest point to Neptune. At this time in 1989, Neptune was the farthest planet from the sun due to Pluto’s orbit; now, Neptune is the farthest planet since Pluto isn’t classified as a planet any more. Today, the craft, still traveling outbound, is about 12.1 billion miles from Earth, more than 130 times the distance between Earth and the Sun (AU).


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 25. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!