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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles are making a last ditch effort at a playoff run

Dean Kremer was great, the O’s are for sale (sort of), and Mancini is enjoying his Baltimore visit.

MLB: Houston Astros at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

They’re going to toy with my emotions, aren’t they? The Orioles won again last night, a 6-0 victory over the Houston Astros. It’s their third straight win, and thanks to another loss by the Seattle Mariners, the O’s are now just three games back of the final AL Wild Card spot.

A tall task remains, and since the Mariners already took the season series from the Orioles it actually needs to be treated more like a four-game gap. With only 12 games remaining on the schedule the odds are long. But it’s possible.

The last three days do have implications beyond the 2022 playoffs. The Orioles are now 11-10 in September, inching them closer to a fourth consecutive winning month. They are also back in the black for run differential, outscoring opponents by four runs on the season. And how about these pitchers?

Jordan Lyles, Kyle Bradish, and Dean Kremer have combined to throw 26.2 innings over the last three games. It’s a remarkable run that would be tough for any team to accomplish, let alone one with lack of depth that the Orioles starting staff possesses.

The front office will need to address the starting rotation in one way or another after the season. John Means won’t be back until midseason, and immediate success for rookie Grayson Rodriguez cannot be expected. But even if they go out and sign a veteran like Carlos Rodon, there will be significant carry over from this year’s unit.

That brings about questions on what that looks like in practice. Lyles has an $11 million option. Do they pick it up? Kremer and Bradish have been great in the second half. Is it for real? Tyler Wells was quite good before the injury. Does he fit better in the rotation or the bullpen long term? DL Hall is still a starter long term, right?

The point is that there is a lot to figure out. Performance like those seen this week make those decisions even harder. But that is a good problem to have, one that the Orioles haven’t had in quite some time.

For now, all attention will be on the next game. Mike Baumann is on the mound tonight with a fully rested bullpen behind him as the O’s look to earn the series win against the visiting Astros.


Latest On Orioles’ Ownership Situation | MLB Trade Rumors
The update here seems to be that there isn’t actually an update. The franchise is semi-for sale, and has been for months, but nothing is imminent. It remains to be seen if this situation has any impact on the Orioles’ plans for the offseason, when GM Mike Elias has said he expects the team to “liftoff.”

Three more reflections as Orioles play out their last 12 games | Roch Kubatko
What the Orioles do with Jorge Mateo this winter will be worth watching. He has been great, and there is no guarantee that whomever would replace him could do the same. But the team has a load of intriguing young infielders on the way.

In return to Baltimore, Trey Mancini, fiancee Sara Perlman celebrate the past while embracing the future: ‘He’s so happy where he is’ | The Baltimore Sun
I hope that as soon as this series with the Astros wraps up that Trey Mancini can turn things around at the plate. It’s been a rough month-and-a-half for him in Houston, owning an 85 OPS+.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Travis Ishikawa turns 39 today. The first baseman was an Oriole for just six games in 2013.
  • Jesse Garcia celebrates his 49th birthday. A utility man in the league for seven seasons, Garcia began his career with two years in Baltimore from 1999-2000.
  • Kevin Millar is 51. The current host of Intentional Talk on MLB Network spent three seasons with the dark ages O’s from 2006 through 2008, posting a 2.3 bWAR in that time.
  • Rafael Palmeiro is 58 today. His time with Baltimore was split up into two stints, first from 1994 through 1998 and then again from 2004 through 2005. Palmeiro is one of just seven players in MLB history with at least 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, but his ties to steroids will keep him out of the Hall of Fame for the foreseeable future.
  • The late Curt Motton (b. 1940, d. 2010) was born on this day. Motton spent parts of seven seasons with the O’s, split between 1967-71 and then ‘73-74.

This day in O’s history

1955 - The Orioles deliver the first 100-loss season to the nearby Washington Senators, taking both halves of a doubleheader, 1-0 and 8-5.

1971 - A pair of Orioles hurlers nab their 20th wins of the season, first Mike Cuellar and then Pat Dobson in victories over Cleveland to clinch the division title.

1997 - The Orioles clinch the AL East title, becoming the sixth major league team to hold first place for every single day of the regular season.