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Sunday Bird Droppings: Series win in hand, the Orioles try for a surprising sweep

The Orioles have yet to lose a game in Texas this year. They can keep that going if they sweep the Astros today.

Baltimore Orioles v Houston Astros
An Adley handshake instead of a hug. He looks like he’s good at handshakes, too.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

The Orioles! What a team. Just when you might have started to be tempted to think that they were on the verge of really falling out of the picture because of an offense going to sleep, they’ve turned things around a bit. No, the offense is still kind of pathetic, but the pitching has gotten strong enough to overcome it. Against the AL’s best team, the Astros, Kyle Bradish and now Dean Kremer have fired off amazing starts and the Orioles have won the series in Houston already, with a chance to sweep today.

Check out Stacey’s recap of the lovely totals from the 3-1 victory, and don’t forget to vote in the MBP poll.

The victory on Saturday night came with the double blessing that elsewhere the Jays and Rays both lost games before the Orioles had even played. That means the O’s are now 1.5 games back of Toronto for the third wild card, and 2 back of Tampa Bay for the second wild card. Seattle’s late Saturday result will also impact this picture; at the time the Orioles won, they were two back of Seattle for WC1.

It remains nearly unbelievable that we are here in late August thinking about the 2022 Orioles being legitimate wild card contenders. Remember how much they sucked in April? They were 7-14!

Things have changed a lot since then. Now, the Orioles are 67-59, eight games above .500 for the first time since May 21, 2017. The Sun’s Nathan Ruiz noted that the past three games are the first time the Orioles have gotten three straight 7+ inning starts since Ubaldo Jiménez, Dylan Bundy, and Jeremy Hellickson from July 31-Aug. 2, 2017. Unlike recent Orioles teams, when nearly all of the “first since” references were bad, the 2022 Orioles are getting “first since” where it’s because of good things happening.

The Orioles, undefeated in the state of Texas this season, will go for the sweep this afternoon. If they’re going to get one, they’re going to have to earn it, because they’re set to face Justin Verlander in the 2:10 finale. Austin Voth makes the start for the Orioles. With Houston having been held to one run in the first two games of this series combined, it feels like they’re due for a breakout. We’ll see if Voth can stave that off somehow.

Around the blogO’sphere

Brandon Hyde on the search for rotation innings, scoreboard watching, and more (Steve Melewski)
If you’ve been watching the scoreboard every day, you’ve got some good company, because the Orioles manager is doing it too. So am I, but I’m not as good company as Hyde is.

Orioles face September call-up decisions for multiple top prospects (MLBTR)
The folks at MLBTR consider not only the case for GUNNAR HENDERSON, but also for the return of DL Hall and the potential appearance of Grayson Rodriguez. Note that Rodriguez still hasn’t begun a rehab assignment - but there might be enough minor league season left for him to get one and get his feet wet for a couple of games down the home stretch.

ESPN’s Tim Kurkjian says it’s important for Orioles to show they’re serious free agent players (Press Box Online)
Among the recent suggestions by Kurkjian: Make a big splash with signing Carlos Rodón (2.81 ERA, 2.25 FIP, 1.032 WHIP in 25 starts this season) and then make the fans happy by re-signing Trey Mancini. I can think of worse ideas.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The most recent Orioles victory on this date was four years ago. The 2018 team dunked on the Blue Jays for 17 hits in a 12-5 victory, improving their record to 39-94. That team was pretty bad, you guys. Adam Jones had four hits for the O’s, and each of Craig Gentry, Chris Davis, and Tim Beckham drove in three runs.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2021-22 infielder Kelvin Gutiérrez, 1975 20-game winner Mike Torrez, and 1964 four-game outfielder Lou Piniella. Today is Piniella’s 79th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you as well! Your birthday buddies for today include: comic book man Jack Kirby (1917), director David Fincher (1962), country musician Shania Twain (1965), actor Jason Priestley (1969), and actress Quvenzhané Wallis (2003).

On this day in history...

In 1565, Spanish explorer Pedro Menéndez de Avilés landed near present-day St. Augustine, Florida, founding a settlement that’s the oldest of any to be established by Europeans and continually occupied in North America.

In 1898, a man named Caleb Bradham, who had developed a beverage he called “Brad’s drink,” rechristened his signature drink to “Pepsi-Cola”.

In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his famous “I have a dream” speech, in which were a number of famous passages. “I still have a dream, a dream deeply rooted in the American dream,” King said to marchers assembled near the Lincoln Memorial, “one day this nation will rise up and live up to its creed, ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal.’”


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 28. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!