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Thursday Bird Droppings: A quick sweep keeps the Orioles wild card hopes alive

The Orioles took care of business against the Nationals. The Blue Jays loom this weekend, but for today, they’re off.

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Baltimore Orioles v Washington Nationals Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

For six innings last night, it seemed like the Orioles were on the way to a disastrous loss against the worst team in MLB whose starting pitcher is the worst in baseball this year. That was going to be quite a demoralizing one! At least they managed to turn that around and come away with a 6-2 victory to seal a two-game sweep of the Nationals. Check out Alex’s recap of the game for the lovely totals.

The win means that the Orioles gained ground in the wild card standings, so hope is not extinguished there. Unfortunately, the Rays are 1-3 so far in their series against the Jays. That’s a problem because though the O’s are four games back of the Rays with their 75-67 record, the Rays hold the tiebreaker, so the O’s really need to get five games back on that squad in their final 20 games, with no head-to-head opportunities to gain games.

It’s tough math, without even getting into who the Orioles have to play the rest of the way. As we all know, this is so fun compared to preseason expectations. Keeping that in mind helps. I think for me, what I’m hoping to see is that the O’s don’t take too long to get to 82 wins, guaranteeing a winning season, and after that my hope is that the Orioles can make it into October before they get mathematically eliminated. These feel doable.

Another doable goal is to stay ahead of the Red Sox to avoid last place in the AL East. The Sox were taken down by the Yankees last night to fall to 18 games back in the division. The Orioles are “only” 11.5 games down. That’s a nice cushion.

An off day awaits the Orioles today. I am always annoyed by the quirky schedule weeks where there is an off day on both a Monday and a Thursday. This quirk is not eliminated with the change to “play every team every year” scheduling - it’ll happen twice next year too and I’m going to be annoyed about it then. Oh well. A trip into Canada to play the Blue Jays over the weekend is next.

Around the blogO’sphere

Hyde on last night’s lineup, Mullins, Hays, Aguilar, and more (School of Roch)
There were a lot of cranky comments about last night’s Orioles lineup while it was being held in check by Patrick Corbin. They did, at least, get six runs out of it eventually. Manager Brandon Hyde explained the lineup choices before the game.

Building the perfect Orioles starting pitcher, one pitch at a time (The Athletic)
Dan Connolly engaged in a little bit of figurative Frankenstein creation in trying to find the ideal Orioles starting pitch mix.

A tale of two halves: Austin Hays hopes for some consistency (The Baltimore Sun)
“Consistency” is one of my least favorite stock baseball phrases because it is said to be needed for plenty of players who are consistent. Just, consistently bad! That’s not Hays. He needs to be consistently healthy and good.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1977, the Orioles forfeited a game after manager Earl Weaver pulled the team off of the field. Weaver wanted a tarp that was covering the bullpen mound, held down by bricks, to be removed. The umpires would not order the tarp removed. The result was a Blue Jays victory, 4-0, in five innings.

A pair of former Orioles were born on this day. They are: 1984 six-game pitcher John Pacella, and 1976 pitcher Dave Pagan. Today is Pagan’s 73rd birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: writer James Fenimore Cooper (1789), 27th president William Howard Taft (1857), novelist Agatha Christie (1890), baseball Hall of Famer Gaylord Perry (1938), actor Tommy Lee Jones (1946), Baltimore-born actor Josh Charles (1971), and author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (1977).

On this day in history...

In 1440, French baron Gilles de Rais was arrested after being accused of carrying out a series of murders of children, possibly as many as hundreds. This infamy marks him as one of the earliest documented serial killers.

In 1812, Napoleon’s Grande Armée arrived at the Kremlin in Moscow. Winter was not long behind them.

In 1916, World War I’s Battle of the Somme saw tanks used in combat for the first time. The British Army, which deployed the tanks, did advance between then and November and win the battle, though the tanks aren’t believed to have played a large part.

In 1944, American soldiers and marines landed on the island of Peleliu, beginning a two and a half month battle that saw about 1,500 Americans killed while capturing the island. The battle was all the more tragic because it ultimately had no strategic value in continuing the “island hopping” strategy through the Pacific.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on September 15. Have a safe Thursday.