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Monday Bird Droppings: The Orioles passed the first test of their road trip

Though the series ended on a sour note, the O’s took two out of three from the best team in the AL. Not too shabby.

Baltimore Orioles v Houston Astros
Nice hit, Jorge Mateo! Just don’t go for third ba— oops.
Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

If you had told me on Friday morning that the Orioles would go into Houston, score only six runs in the three games, and still win the series, well...I would have had a lot of questions. Like, how did you know all that was going to happen, three days in advance? Do you have psychic abilities? And if you do, why are you wasting your supernatural gifts on predicting baseball scores instead of using your powers for a greater good, like preventing global calamities? Priorities, man! Come on!

But anyway, once we’d settled all that, I would’ve been happy with that turn of events for the Orioles. The upstart O’s just took two of three against the best team in the American League, on the Astros’ home turf, and completely shut down their offense for nearly the entire series. Starting pitchers Kyle Bradish, Dean Kremer, and Austin Voth — three guys that most baseball fans couldn’t pick out of a lineup, and none of whom were in the Orioles’ rotation when the season began — combined for 22.1 innings and allowed two (2) earned runs. That’s going to win you a lot of games.

In this case, it wasn’t quite enough to win all three, as a struggling O’s offense couldn’t scrape more than one run in Sunday’s finale and the B-team bullpen faltered late. Alex Church recapped the Orioles’ 3-1 loss, which denied them a sweep. The loss, at least, didn’t drop the O’s any further back for the third wild card spot. They remain 1.5 games behind the Blue Jays, who got swept by the Angels. The Orioles did, though, lose ground on the victorious Rays (now three games ahead of them for the first wild card) and Mariners (2.5 up for the second wild card). And the Twins, who swept the Giants, crept a bit closer into the race, now within 1.5 games of the Orioles. At this point, it’s a five-team race for three spots.

The Birds’ road trip now takes them to visit another division-leading club, the Guardians, for three games beginning Tuesday. It promises to be a tough challenge for the Orioles. But then, Houston was supposed to be a challenge, too, and look how that turned out.


Four reasons why the Orioles surprisingly jumped into contention in 2022, plus what's next for the O’s -
It would be accurate, but perhaps a bit repetitive, to list Adley Rutschman as reasons one through four. So Mike Axisa came up with three other reasons for the Orioles’ success.

Orioles take series win after big test vs. Astros -
Austin Hays feels that the Orioles are “starting to fire on all cylinders.” If offense doesn’t count as a cylinder, then sure.

Orioles’ offense held down again in 3-1 loss to Astros; Voth allows just 1 hit in 6-plus innings -
A crazy part of my brain wants the Orioles to call up both Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg today and plug them into the lineup as the everyday third and second baseman, respectively, for the rest of the year. It won’t happen, but the O’s lineup could certainly use a jolt.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 72nd birthday of Orioles Hall of Famer Doug DeCinces, who capably replaced Brooks Robinson as the Birds’ third baseman in the 1970s. DeCinces is widely credited with the birth of “Orioles Magic” with his walkoff home run against the Tigers in June 1979. Enjoy your day, Doug!

Other former Orioles with Aug. 29 birthdays include infielder Eddie Rogers (44), outfielder Dave Nicholson (83), and the late catcher Frank “Noodles” Zupo (b. 1939, d. 2005) and infielder Billy Cox (b. 1919, d. 1978).

On this day in 1979, Eddie Murray single-handedly defeated the Twins, 7-3, blasting three home runs and driving in all seven of the Birds’ runs. Murray hit a three-run homer in the fifth and two-run shot in the seventh, both off southpaw Geoff Zahn, then bashed a two-run dinger off right-hander Mike Marshall in the ninth. That completed a doubleheader sweep in Minnesota; the O’s had won the first game, 4-0, behind a Scott McGregor shutout.

On this date in 1996, the Orioles bolstered their lineup for the stretch run by acquiring veteran third baseman Todd Zeile and outfielder Pete Incaviglia from the Phillies. Zeile later erupted in the ALCS for three home runs against the Yankees, but also committed a fateful, game-losing error in Game 3.

And on this day in 1999, the Birds’ Albert Belle tied a major league record by ripping four doubles in one game. Belle drove in three runs and scored three amidst an 11-4 O’s rout in Detroit. It was the Birds’ final game at Tiger Stadium before Comerica Park opened the following year. I don’t know about you, but I could totally see Rutschman breaking that four-doubles-in-one-game record.