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Sunday Bird Droppings: The winningest Orioles of the century try to close with #102

There was some bad, but not surprising, news about Félix Bautista yesterday

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

Hello, friends.

The 2023 Orioles have now won more games than all but four other Orioles teams in the existence of the franchise. Winning #101 last night, a 5-2 triumph over the Red Sox, put them one above the 1980 Orioles. That leaves this year’s team equal to the 1971 Orioles, with the potential to pull equal to the 1979 O’s at 102 if they can win the finale today. 1969’s 109 wins and the 108 wins of the 1970 team are not in any danger.

Check out Paul Folkemer’s recap of last night’s game for more of the lovely totals. Some relievers are not doing a great job at auditioning for postseason roster spots. After last night’s win, the Elias Sports Bureau said that the Orioles securing their 14th straight division series without losing the series is the best such streak in the history of the franchise. That goes back to 1969, when division play began.

If you missed the news yesterday, Mike Elias announced that Orioles closer Félix Bautista is scheduled to get Tommy John surgery some time this month. The attempt over September to rehab the partial tear was to see if Bautista would be able to come back for the postseason. According to Elias yesterday, Bautista was going to need the surgery in the offseason regardless.

The announcement felt inevitable to me as soon as Bautista walked off the mound in his last game. There was essentially no harm in waiting a little while, because whether Bautista got the surgery in September, October, or November, he would be out until spring training 2025 either way. The Orioles took a shot to see if he could pitch for them in October and it didn’t work out. Now they will have to find ways to win games without him - which they’ve already done through September as they clinched first a wild card spot and then the AL East title.

In most seasons over the last few years, the last regular season game would be an occasion of both sadness and relief. Sadness because the end of the season marks the end of the Orioles being in our lives for six months, and relief because in the tanking years that meant six months of not having to have these losers inflicted on us. Last year, when the team had improved, there was only the sadness, and some anticipation for a bigger offseason that never materialized.

This year, the end of the regular season doesn’t mean the end of our time with the 2023 Orioles. They will play at least three more games and hopefully many more than that. They will get five days off after today and then their Division Series will begin on Saturday.

We won’t know the Orioles ALDS opponent until Wednesday or Thursday, when one of the wild card teams has won two games. We won’t know who will play the Rays in the wild card count for the right to face the Orioles until today’s games. It will not be the Mariners. Their loss last night eliminated them from playoff contention.

As for the Orioles finale, it’s set for a 3:05 start. Kyle Bradish will start for the Orioles, though it will probably not be a regular length outing. Tanner Houck is supposed to start for the last place Red Sox. It would be nice to see the O’s wrap up their regular season with a solid offensive output because uh, although they got the wins they needed to clinch the division and all, the hitting has gone through some real cold streaks for the last seven games before this.

Around the blogO’sphere

Orioles DFA López and recall Zimmermann (School of Roch)
Another bit of news yesterday, much less consequential, is that the O’s designated Jorge López for assignment. Baltimore’s own Bruce Zimmermann returned in the move. Whatever the O’s thought might work out from the reunion, it didn’t.

Brooks Robinson (1937-2023), the standard-setter at third base (FanGraphs)
Pre-eminent baseball writer about Hall of Famers Jay Jaffe put together a piece about Brooks’s baseball greatness. It’s nice when national press acknowledges what we already know.

With playoff bye, Orioles will soon receive five straight days off - as many as the last eight weeks combined (The Baltimore Sun)
This headline shocked me. I knew the Orioles had been running without many off days but I didn’t realize just how stark it was. I hope they use this coming week well!

One of few O’s with playoff experience says team is “definitely ready” (Steve Melewski)
Aaron Hicks, I hope you are right.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1997, the Orioles won the first game of the American League Division Series against the Mariners, triumphing 9-3 in a matchup where each team’s starting pitcher was a future Hall of Famer. Mike Mussina gave up two runs in seven innings for the O’s, while Randy Johnson allowed five runs in five innings. Eric Davis, B.J. Surhoff, and Mike Bordick each drove in two runs apiece for the O’s.

There is one current Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 29th to Cedric Mullins. A few former Orioles were also born today. They are: 2011 three-gamer Mitch Atkins, 2000-01 pitcher Chuck McElroy, and 1956-60 first baseman Bob Boyd.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: the Bonnie part of Bonnie and Clyde Bonnie Parker (1910), actor Walther Matthau (1920), 39th president Jimmy Carter (1924), actress Julie Andrews (1935), baseball Hall of Famer Rod Carew (1945), and actress Brie Larson (1989).

On this day in history...

In 331 BC, the Macedonians defeated the Persians in the Battle of Gaugamela, one of the key victories for an outnumbered Alexander the Great. Among the territory conquered after this victory was all of Mesopotamia.

In 1800 AD, the territory of Louisiana was given by Spain to France in the Third Treaty of San Ildefonso, setting the table for its eventual sale to the United States.

In 1890, Congress established Yosemite National Park.

In 1946, the Nuremberg Trials came to a close as sentences were announced for surviving high-level Nazi leaders; 12 of 24 defendants were sentenced to death.

In 1975, Muhammad Ali defeated Joe Frazier in the “Thrilla in Manila.” It was the third and last bout between these boxers, with Ali winning as Frazier’s corner asked the referee to stop the fight following the 14th round.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on October 1. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!