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Saturday Bird Droppings: Closing in on the Wild Card

Four wins in a row, Mountcastle improvements, and a bullpen shuffle is working.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Losing that game last night would have been awfully frustrating. The Orioles left 11 runners on base and went 2-for-15 with runners in scoring position. And it wasn’t because they were getting blown away at the plate. The entire lineup struck out just three times, and they managed 10 hits, including four for extra bases.

Instead, they beat the Pirates 1-0, and therefore no inward reflection is required. Those are the rules.

We kid, of course. There are things to take away from that win.

One of them has to be the situation at second base. I have been a Rougned Odor apologist for much of this season. What can I say? I like him, and I do believe that there is some intangible benefit from keeping him around. But his bat has also slumped quite badly ever since a solid May, and it is becoming increasingly hard to defend his inclusion in the daily lineup now that Terrin Vavra has arrived swinging a hot stick. One would imagine it has to be a defensive concern about what Vavra can handle, but it seems reasonable enough to give him a run to prove himself.

The other is that the Orioles won again. That’s four in a row, and it has them just 1.5 games back of the Seattle Mariners for the final wild card spot in the AL. With two more games against the Pirates this weekend, it is entirely possible that they play themselves into a playoff position in the next two days.

The longer the O’s go while actually having a shot at the postseason, the more inexcusable it becomes that some of the prospects with a chance to make a difference aren’t called up. That probably won’t change Mike Elias’s mind when it comes to Kyle Stowers or Gunnar Henderson. But it should! They won’t lose any amount of team control, and they sure seem ready. Let’s put the best team on the field.


Bautista, Pérez bridge path to statement shutout |
I will almost always be fine with trading away relievers, particularly when you have a bullpen as deep as the Orioles seem to have. Things won’t always go as smoothly as they have since Jorge López has departed, but this front office is proving that they can deal away their top relievers and keep on moving.

The current Orioles believe they’re on the verge of something special. Former Orioles believe it, too. | The Baltimore Sun
There haven’t been too many memorable teams for Orioles fans of the last 20 years. This team qualifies as such, and there is enough magic there to think they could be capable of even more.

Maybe Mountcastle has found solution to struggles | School of Roch
Ryan Mountcastle has been a big leaguer for long enough now that I think we can determine who he is as a player. The former first rounder is streaky. He has power, some of which has been sapped by the dimension changes at Camden Yards, and he hits the ball really hard. But because he is such a free swinger, his offensive potential is limited. Even a slight uptick in walk rate would be such a boost.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Victor Zambrano turns 47. The pitcher appeared in five games for the 2007 Orioles after bouncing around the league for the previous seven seasons.
  • Mike Reinbach (b. 1949, d. 1989) was born on this day. His MLB career spanned 12 games with the Orioles in 1974.
  • Jim Hardin (b. 1943, d. 1991) has a posthumous birthday as well. The pitcher played five years in Baltimore from 1967 through 1971, compiling a 2.95 ERA as he bounced between the rotation and bullpen.
  • Camilo Carreón (b. 1937, d. 1987) was also born today. He wrapped up his big league career with four games on the ‘66 O’s after a lengthy stint with the White Sox.

This day in O’s history

1959 - A game between the Orioles and White Sox is called a tie at 1-1 after the two teams play 18 innings and reach the midnight curfew. Both teams used only two pitchers each, including White Sox starter Billy Pierce, who went 16 innings before a reliever was used.

1971 - Pat Dobson’s streak of wins, complete games, and scoreless innings is halted as the O’s lose 12-3 to the Yankees.

1986 - The Orioles and Rangers set a record for grand slams in a single game. Larry Sheets and Jim Dwyer each hit one for the O’s while Toby Harrah smacked one for the Rangers. Texas beats Baltimore 13-11.