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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles need to make their move

It would behoove the O’s to rack up some wins against the Pirates this weekend, because their schedule turns brutal after that.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s August, and the Orioles are right in the thick of the playoff race.

Take a moment to absorb that sentence. Bask in it. What an unexpectedly delightful season this has been! The O’s, fresh off their three-game sweep in Texas, bring a 54-51 record back to Baltimore for this weekend’s series against the Pirates.

On the scoreboard-watching front, there was good news and bad news for the idle Orioles last night. The bad news is that the Rays won in Detroit, extending their lead over the Birds to two full games for the third and final Wild Card slot. The good news is that the Guardians got blanked by the Astros, dropping Cleveland into a tie with the Orioles. That means there’s no other teams the Birds need to leapfrog — for now, at least — in order to catch the Rays.

But making up even two games of ground isn’t going to be easy, considering the Orioles’ remaining schedule. After Pittsburgh, the O’s face a brutal slate in which 13 of their next 14 games are against AL East teams, and then the nine games after that are all against winning clubs. Starting Monday, the Birds’ only chance to come up for air for the rest of the month will be a single makeup game against the Cubs on Aug. 18.

So it would be a good idea for the Orioles to sweep the lowly Pirates this weekend before they enter that dreaded gauntlet. There’s even a possibility, depending on how things play out in Baltimore and elsewhere, that the O’s could finish this series in possession of a wild card spot.

Again, bask in that sentence. What a year it’s been so far.


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The Orioles have a whole bunch of games against their wild card competition the rest of the way, so there’s plenty of time for them to make something amazing — or disastrous — happen. Let’s aim for the former, okay?

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To quote a Stacey comment from yesterday on Phillips, “Even though I find his inclusion on the team confusing, he has always been a delightful human.” Here’s hoping Phillips’ infectious enthusiasm spurs the O’s to even more success down the stretch.

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Asked, “What is one word your teammates would use to describe you?” Bautista replied, “Big.” Story checks out!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Two former Orioles were born on this day: right-hander John Wasdin (50) and the late righty Nelson Briles (b. 1943, d. 2005).

The Orioles’ last win on this date came in 2018, when they smacked four homers — two by Mark Trumbo — in a 9-6 victory in Texas, “improving” their record to 34-78. Five O’s relievers combined for 7.1 innings of one-run ball after starter Yefry Ramirez was chased in the second inning. Jonathan Villar went 3-for-3, and he one-upped himself exactly one year later, when...

On this day in 2019, Jonathan Villar hit for the cycle in the Birds’ 9-6 loss to the Yankees. Villar was the fifth player in O’s history to accomplish the feat, and earlier this year Austin Hays became the sixth.

And Aug. 5 has also been a pretty good day for Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson, who hit game-winning, extra-inning home runs on this date in two consecutive years. In 1968, he went back-to-back with Boog Powell in the 10th at Yankee Stadium for a 5-3 Orioles win, and in 1969 he walked off the Royals with a two-run homer in the 10th at Memorial Stadium.