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Friday Bird Droppings: Not much room for error

One week until another Blue Jays series, managing like it’s already October, and planning for the offseason

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Oakland Athletics v Baltimore Orioles Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

This team needed that off day. There’s no getting around the fact that the series with the Blue Jays stuck. The O’s got kicked around for four games, and their playoff odds took a significant hit. But all hope is not lost, and perhaps some time off their feet was beneficial.

The Orioles head up to Canada for another series with the Blue in just a week’s time. Between now and then, they need to do everything they can to win the five games ahead of them against the Red Sox and Nationals, two sub-.500 squads.

All of the bullpen options should be on the table for Brandon Hyde in those games. The only relievers to pitch on Tuesday were Jake Reed and Joey Krehbiel, and Krehbiel only threw two pitches. Plus, the team has two more off days this week. Monday and Thursday. That’s plenty of time to organize the pitching should the ‘pen need to eat a significant number of innings one day.

But after Thursday it will an all-out spring to the season’s end. From September 16th through October 5th, the Orioles play 20 games in 20 days. No off days. A series against the Blue Jays at the start, a series against the Blue Jays at the end.

That schedule composition means that the Orioles do still essentially hold their playoff destiny in their own hands even if they do enter game action today trailing the Blue Jays by 4.5 games for the final AL Wild Card spot. It’s a tall task, but one that is within the realm of possibility.

But it will take this team playing near-flawless baseball to achieve it. Another 10-game win streak sure wouldn’t hurt.


Orioles embark on season’s final stretch with shrinking playoff odds: ‘We’re gonna need to win’ | The Baltimore Sun
If you had told me back in April that this story would make sense to run in September I would have been giddy with excitement. But now that I’m in the thick of it I am a big ball of anxiety on every single pitch. Why must sports do this!

Rosenthal: As Orioles see returns on young stars, GM plans for offseason; plus Carlos Correa’s future and more | The Athletic
Not much new information here, but Rosenthal does hint that the current plan for the Orioles infield seems to include Jorge Mateo staying on as the shortstop with Gunnar Henderson sliding to third base full time in 2023. That leaves the gaping hole at second base, which Rosenthal has no intel on, just noting the lack of free agent options and the potential that Jordan Westburg is the eventual answer.

Orioles managing to play meaningful games in September and maneuvering in new ways | Roch Kubatko
The way in which Hyde managed the game following the double-header sweep showed that he understood importance of the moment. The Orioles needed the win, and he managed it that way. There is no room for error any more. If a starter does have the good stuff then the manager has to find someone else to get outs in the moment. It’s not a sustainable method all summer, but sometimes it is necessary.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Pat Valaika turns 30 years old. One of the (very sad) faces of the rebuild, Valaika spent the 2020 and ‘21 seasons with the Orioles, compiling a .228/.273/.355 batting line in that time. He is still in affiliated ball, working away in the Atlanta Braves organization.
  • Edwin Jackson is 39 today. The pitcher has spent time in nearly every MLB organization. His time with the Orioles lasted just three big league games in 2017.
  • Rhyne Hughes is also 39. His 14-game stint with the Orioles in 2010 was the entirety of his time in the big leagues.
  • Kurt Ainsworth turns 44 today. The right-handed pitcher was one part of the return the Orioles landed when trading Sidney Ponson to the Giants in 2003. Ainsworth’s time with the Orioles lasted just two seasons (2003-04), and he played in only 10 total games.
  • Todd Zeile celebrates his 57th. The longtime big league infielder spent the end of the 1996 season with the O’s, appearing in 29 games.
  • The late Jim Corsi (b. 1961, d. 2022) was born on this day. He wrapped up his 10-season big league career with 13 relief appearances for the 1999 Orioles.

This day in O’s history

1979 - The Orioles continue their dominance, winning their seventh in a row, a 16-4 victory over the Red Sox. This game also marks the final game in the career of Red Sox catcher Bob Montgomery, who was the last big leaguer to wear a hard cap liner rather than a batting helmet.

1999 - Cal Ripken Jr. grounds into his 324th career double play, passing Cal Yastrzemski for the all-time lead. Ripken has since been passed by Albert Pujols and Miguel Cabrera on that list.

2009 - Brian Roberts becomes only the fourth major leaguer to hit 50 doubles in a season in three occassions. The other three are Tris Speaker, Paul Warner, and Stan Musial.