Good morning, Birdland!
Well, that was a fun evening of baseball! Fireworks throughout and a pair of comeback wins have entirely flipped the two LCS match-ups on their head.
The Astros stormed back from a two-run deficit, seemingly fueled by an eighth-inning, benches-clearing dustup between Adolis García and Martín Maldonado. José Altuve smacked a three-run bomb off Rangers closer José Leclerc in the top of the ninth, and then Ryan Pressley worked himself out of a jam in the bottom of the frame to wrap things up. Houston won all three games on the road in Arlington and now have a 3-2 lead in ALCS.
There’s already been a lot of analysis of the incident that saw García, reliever Bryan Abreu, and Astros manager Dusty Baker ejected. Was it an intentional hit by pitch? Context would seem to suggest it wasn’t. The Astros were trailing by two runs, there was already a runner on, no outs in the inning, and Abreu hadn’t looked sharp to that point. Plunking someone intentionally would have been entirely illogical in that situation, regardless of what irrelevant signal that may have been sent in the process.
Whatever the case, it seemed to help Houston in the end. Abreu being thrown out led to Pressly entering the game. That was a favorable swap for the road team as Abreu seemed to be struggling with command anyway. Pressly was given all the time he needed to get warm since it was such an abrupt move. All the while, Leclerc sat on the bench, getting cold after he had originally entered the game in the eighth inning. The Astros pounced him in the ninth, and the rest is history. The two teams will cool off today before resuming things in Houston on Sunday.
Over in the NL things weren’t quite as fiery, but it was still a great game with an electric atmosphere. The Diamondbacks came back for the second straight game to eke out a victory and tie the series up at two games apiece. I cannot give as colorful a description of the action since I have a bed time—yes, even on a Friday. I’m getting old over here!—and this game went beyond it
That series will continue this evening with a tasty pitching matchup of Zack Wheeler against Zac Gallen. Maybe I’ll have a cup of coffee after dinner so I can make it through all nine frames.
Jordan Westburg on playing for Buck Britton: “He meant everything” | Roch Kubatko
It’s cool to see someone that has really gone through the grind of professional baseball get rewarded for it. Britton was a 35th-round pick. He spent parts of nine seasons climbing the ladder as a player, and now he has coached at several levels as well. All signs point to him getting a chance on a big league staff at some point. Jumping right to manager may be unrealistic, but he seems like a viable bench coach option as soon as next year.
Added 2024 opponent - expectations | Steve Melewski
This article talks a lot about 2024 projections. My assumption is that those sorts of systems will peg the Orioles at a 90-ish win squad. But they have little barring on what the league actually thinks about these guys. Maybe they did “overperform” to win 101 games, but it happened all the same. It’s not a fluke, and they could do it again.
Jon Meoli: The bar for an Anthony Santander trade should be high | The Baltimore Banner
Trades should be on the table for many areas of the Orioles roster. They need to go from good to great in seven facets. Santander certainly isn’t untouchable. But his power is a rare commodity on this roster, and they cannot simply ship him off for parts. The front office needs to prioritize adding home runs this offseason.
Baltimore Orioles’ Bruce Zimmermann Undergoes Surgery, Expected Back By Spring | SI.com
Relatively minor news items from earlier in the week that I missed. It was core surgery from Zimmermann, and it sounds like he should be just fine in time for 2024.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- The late Valmy Thomas (b. 1925, d. 2010) is the only former Oriole born on this day. He played in eight games for the 1960 O’s as a catcher .
This day in O’s history
It’s been a slow day in Orioles history, according to Baseball Reference. So, here are some things that have happened outside of Birdland.
1879 - Thomas Edison applies for a patent on his design of the incandescent light bulb.
1940 - For Whom the Bell Tolls by Ernest Hemingway is first published.
1959 - The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum opens to the public in New York City.
2005 - Images of Eris, the dwarf planet, are taken and used to document its discovery.