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Saturday Bird Droppings: Just keep winning

The O’s gain ground in the wild card race, MLB passes new rules, and voting for Most Valuable Oriole.

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

The Orioles gained ground in the playoff race! Their 3-2 win over the Red Sox paired with the Mariners 6-4 loss to the Braves has the O’s only four games out of a playoff spot, a half-game improvement over where they started the day,

However, that good news comes with a caveat. Chasing down the Mariners has some added difficulties that chasing the Blue Jays does not. The most straightforward is the fact that the Orioles still play the Blue Jays six times while they are done playing the Mariners this season. Connected to that, the Orioles can still win the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Blue Jays. That tiebreaker has already been lost against the Mariners. So, while the standings may say four games back, tying the Mariners won’t be enough. They need to finish ahead of them.

Regardless of how you spin it, though, the Orioles just need to keep winning games. There is no secret sauce there. If they win all of the games left on their schedule, they get into the playoffs. If we want to be more reasonable, winning like 75% of their games probably gets it done too. But there isn’t much wiggle room beneath that.

But that is the 10,000-foot view. The O’s can only worry about the game right in front of them. For today, that is a 5:05 first pitch against those Red Sox. Jordan Lyles returns from his illness to take on Michael Wacha.


Major League Baseball passes significant rules changes including pitch clock, banning defensive shifts |
Most of these rule changes seem completely fine, and will eventually feel like second nature to the sport. I don’t love the rule against the number of pickoff attempts within an at-bat, but I get it. Successful pickoffs are relatively rare anyway, and likely unworthy of the amount of time they can often suck up.

Orioles welcome MLB’s new rules on shifts, pitch clock, base size: ‘A good thing for the game’ | The Baltimore Sun
And here is the Orioles-specific slant to the rule changes. The pitch clock, in particular, is mentioned with Jordan Lyles and Terrin Vavra giving the takes of an old veteran and a rookie. Vavra has already experienced the pitch clock in Triple-A, and he seems to say you just get used to it. I like it!

Henderson breaks down game-winning RBI hit |
We really are getting spoiled this year with the quality of rookies that the Orioles have promoted. Gunnar Henderson and Adley Rutschman take some of the best at-bats on the team every single night, and then they are studs on defense too. It just feels surreal.

Who’s deserving of Most Valuable Oriole? | Roch Kubatko
For me, it’s Rutschman with Anthony Santander as a rather distant second place. Everything turned around when Rutschman came up, and he makes an impact in all aspects of the game. That’s tough to beat.

AL Wild Card Race Getting Right (Ep. 98) | The Warehouse Podcast
An hour of Orioles-centric talk to accompany you during yard work or folding laundry today. Please listen! Or do not. I cannot tell you what to do.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Mike Baumann turns 27. The 2017 draft pick has appeared in 12 games for the Orioles between 2021 and ‘22.
  • Matt Angle celebrates his 37th. The outfielder played in 31 games for the 2011 Orioles.
  • Danys Báez is 45. Between 2007 and 2009, Báez was a familiar face in the Orioles bullpen, appearing in more than 100 games with a 5.02 ERA.

This day in O’s history

1965 - The Orioles take both sides of a doubleheader against the Royals, including a game 2 victory that saw Brooks Robinson, Curt Blefary, and Jerry Adair hit three straight homers in the eighth inning.