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Wednesday Bird Droppings: At least we have Gunnar and Adley

Losing to the Tigers, Norby is thriving, and McKenna is pitching.

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MLB: Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Another loss last night means the Orioles have lost three games in the wild card race since the start of September, nearly three weeks ago. With only two weeks left in the season, the time to make up what is now a five-game gap between them and the Mariners is running low.

There needed to be a continuation of the momentum this team had going in July and August, when they boasted a 33-19 record, their best run of the season. But they have fallen flat this month with a record of 8-10 while being outscored by 25 runs. It’s their worst month since April, back when Robinson Chirinos was splitting time with Anthony Bemboom behind the plate, and Kelvin Gutierrez was an everyday fixture in the lineup.

We can find some solace in the fact that none of the blame for the team’s regression can be laid at the feet of Adley Rutschman or Gunnar Henderson, arguably the two most important figures in the organization at this moment.

Rutschman continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year. Even in a pitiful September, Rutschman is a force. His .290/.397/.516 slash line is the best he has put up so far. Some of that is buoyed by a .341 BABIP, but that’s only because he is hitting the ball with authority once again after a slower August.

Henderson isn’t in the Rookie of the Year discussion in 2022, but he sure is setting himself up to be the favorite in 2023. The 21-year-old launched his first Camden Yards homer last night, and he now has a .938 OPS in his brief big league career. Small sample size and all that, but it’s easy enough to remember how much Rutschman struggled right away. None of those growing pains are evident for the much younger Henderson.

A full season of both players (fingers crossed) along with a few possible additions is reason to be giddy about the Orioles despite the team’s overall struggles at the moment.


MLB teams that should consider unpopular trades of star players this offseason | The Athletic
This article had Orioles Twitter rather exciting on Tuesday. It mentions that the Orioles are a fit for Shohei Ohtani given that they have tons of prospects, and it would take a huge haul to get him. It’s lovely to dream, but I wouldn’t count on that. Mike Elias will need to swap some of his prospects for big league talent, but the sort of package it would take to land Ohtani feels like such a departure from what this front office likes to do.

After Connor Norby ditched his leg kick experiment, the Orioles prospect’s power has been on constant display | The Baltimore Sun
There is suddenly a glut of infielders near the big leagues for the Orioles. They aren’t going to trade Henderson. But it certainly feels like one or more of Connor Norby, Joey Ortiz, and Jordan Westburg will be in a package to acquire some notable names this winter. That is a good problem to have.

McKenna accepts role as emergency relief pitcher | Roch Kubatko
What a team player that Ryan McKenna is!

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Zach Phillips is the lone current or former Orioles player to be born on this day. The left-handed pitcher turns 36. He appeared in 16 games out of the bullpen for the O’s between 2011 and 2012.

This day in O’s history

1984 - Orioles rookie Jim Traber makes his MLB debut, singing the national anthem before the game and the starting as the team’s DH.

2008 - The Orioles lose 7-3 to the Yankees in the final game ever played at the old Yankee Stadium.

2012 - The tight race in the AL East as both the Orioles and Yankees win. The Bombers maintain their one-game lead in the division.