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Monday Bird Droppings: The Orioles begin a make-or-break stretch

The O’s get a heavy dose of playoff contenders for the remainder of the month, giving them a chance to make up ground in the Wild Card race.

Pittsburgh Pirates v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The Orioles took care of business against three sub-.500 teams these past nine games, going 6-3 against the Reds, Rangers, and Pirates. I’ll take that, even if yesterday’s forgettable 8-1 loss wasn’t the strongest way to finish up that stint.

Now comes the brutal stretch of the schedule I wrote about last week.

Starting tonight, 22 of the Orioles’ next 23 games come against teams that are vying for the postseason. Nearly all of those clubs are directly competing with the O’s for the three AL Wild Card spots, including the Blue Jays (who begin a series in Baltimore tonight, four games up on the Birds), the Rays (two games ahead), the Guardians (tied with the Orioles), the White Sox (one game behind the Orioles), and the freefalling-but-not-dead-yet Red Sox (three games behind).

It goes without saying that the Orioles have a huge opportunity to take their fate into their own hands. The rest of the month of August will reveal whether this surprising team has the manpower to stay alive in the postseason race, or whether they’re a good-but-not-great team that is not quite ready for contention this year. Either result, frankly, is a huge step forward from what was expected of the Orioles this year. But I know which outcome I’m rooting for.


Former Orioles thrilled by team's surprising season -
The former Orioles in town for the Camden Yards 30th anniversary celebration had rave reviews of the current O’s club, with Rick Sutcliffe going so far as to say, “If I could have one lineup in baseball right now, I would take the Oriole lineup.” Clearly, the Brett Phillips acquisition is what pushed them over the top.

Soft hits and controversial call keep Orioles from extending winning streak (updated) - School of Roch
This may be an unpopular opinion around these parts, but I think the home-plate interference call was correct. Looked to me like Robinson Chirinos was standing directly in front of the plate for quite some time before he caught the ball. You gotta scooch over a little, Robinson! Scooch!

Orioles, Mike Elias; approach for 2022-23 offseason -
If Mike Elias’ promise about the O’s getting “liftoff” holds true, this winter could be the club’s most exciting offseason in a long time. Zachary Silver looks at some of the free agents who could interest the Orioles. And for once, they’re not just the scraps and leftovers.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on Aug. 8: right-hander Eddy Rodriguez (41) and the late infielder Johnny Temple (b. 1927, d. 1994) and righty Marlin Stuart (b. 1918, d. 1994).

The Orioles’ last win on this date came in 2020, a dramatic late-inning comeback at Nationals Park. Trailing 3-0 in the eighth, the O’s hit back-to-back, pinch-hit homers by Pat Valaika and Pedro Severino, and Anthony Santander crushed a go-ahead, three-run blast later in the inning for an eventual 5-3 victory. The Nationals’ starting pitcher in that game, incidentally, was current Oriole Austin Voth, who threw five scoreless innings.

On this day in 1982, Terry Crowley crushed a walkoff, pinch-hit grand slam in the ninth inning to give the Orioles a thrilling 10-6 win over the Royals. The O’s had blown a two-run lead in the top half before a wild bottom of the inning that featured two walks, a balk, and an error before Crowley’s big blast.

And on this date in 1996, the Orioles’ Eddie Murray hit his 494th career homer, moving him ahead of Lou Gehrig for 15th place (at the time) on the all-time list. Murray finished his career with 504 blasts, which now ranks 28th.