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Sunday Bird Droppings: The Orioles’ postseason got off to a painful start

The excitement over the return of playoff baseball to Baltimore fizzled into an aggravating loss in Game 1.

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Division Series - Texas Rangers v Baltimore Orioles - Game One Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

In a perfect world, the Orioles’ grand return to playoff baseball in Baltimore — in front of an exuberant, sellout crowd at Camden Yards that’s been waiting nine years to attend a postseason game again — would have been celebrated with an emphatic, well-played Orioles victory to take an early lead in the Division Series.

Spoiler alert: it is not a perfect world.

The Rangers spoiled the festivities by handing the Orioles a frustrating 3-2 loss in the opener of the best-of-five series, a game highlighted (or rather, lowlighted) by squandered opportunities at every turn by a slumping O’s offense. The Birds were held in check by a tandem of Andrew Heaney and Dane Dunning, then refused to take advantage of a porous Rangers bullpen that was practically trying to give the game away. Despite putting the leadoff man aboard in each of the final three innings against Texas relievers who couldn’t throw strikes, the Orioles wasted every scoring chance with a slew of ill-timed strikeouts and a dagger of a caught stealing in the ninth by Gunnar Henderson.

The five-day rest did little to spark O’s bats, as several key contributors who struggled down the stretch — including Ryan O’Hearn, Cedric Mullins, and Adam Frazier — continued to slog through poor at-bats in Game 1. The Orioles’ pitching did a stellar job of holding down the powerful Rangers, racking up 16 strikeouts, but it’s hard to win games when you can’t score runs. #analysis

The Rangers, with the opening victory, have stolen home field advantage away from the Orioles. The Birds will now need to win at least one game in Texas to survive. Today’s game feels like a must-win for the Orioles, who can’t afford to head to Arlington one loss away from elimination. We’ll see if rookie Grayson Rodriguez is up to the task — and whether his offense will give him any run support.


Orioles lose ALDS opener to Rangers in return to postseason -
If you want some good news, the O’s had six series wins this year in which they lost the first game. The bad news: in postseason history, the Game 1 loser in a best-to-five went on to lose the series 71 percent of the time. I could throw some more stats at you or I could just shut up and see what happens.

Kyle Goon: The Orioles need to adapt quickly to playoff intensity - The Baltimore Banner
It’s hard to say whether the Orioles’ Game 1 loss can be chalked up to their playoff inexperience or just having a bad day. Either way, they need to clean it up, and quickly.

Jon Meoli: The Orioles picked a strange time for ‘miscommunication’ with Gunnar Henderson’s ninth-inning steal attempt - The Baltimore Banner
On that botched ninth-inning play, somebody either missed a sign, or misread a sign, or believed there was a sign when there was no sign at all. It cost the O’s dearly.

Orioles doomed by poor offense, unwise base-running decision in Game 1 loss to Rangers - The Athletic
Britt Ghiroli delves into the various disasters that befell the Birds in the opener. With all this attention from the national media, it sure would have been nice for the O’s to display what actually makes them a good team, but alas.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde pushed the same buttons in ALDS Game 1 he has all season. They didn’t work out. - Baltimore Sun
The O’s loss wasn’t for lack of trying, as Hyde used nearly every player on his bench to try to get an advantage. The only problem is that none of them performed.

Orioles lose Game 1 of Division Series 3-2 (updated) - School of Roch
The Orioles are saying all the right things about how it’s just one game and they can even the series tomorrow, but I’m gonna go ahead and stay in full-blown panic mode, thank you.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Five former Orioles were born on Oct. 8: outfielders Keith Reed (45) and Enos Cabell (74) and right-handers Manny Barredo (35), Mike Morgan (64), and the late Bob Mabe (b. 1929, d. 2005).

The O’s have played five postseason games on this date, winning four of them. In 1966, they closed within one win of a World Series sweep by winning Game 3 over the Dodgers, 1-0. The 21-year-old right-hander Wally Bunker fired a shutout at Memorial Stadium, holding L.A. to six hits. The Orioles had only three hits themselves, but one of them was a Paul Blair solo homer in the fifth that provided the game’s only run.

In 1983, the Orioles punched their ticket to the Fall Classic by blanking the White Sox, 3-0, in 10 innings at Comiskey Park, completing a three games to one victory in the ALCS. It was a heck of a pitcher’s duel, with the Orioles’ Storm Davis working six scoreless innings before reliever Tippy Martinez tossed another four, while Chicago’s Britt Burns carried a shutout into the top of the 10th. Finally the O’s broke through on a home run by outfielder Tito Landrum, followed by three consecutive singles and a sac fly off the White Sox bullpen.

In 1997, the O’s began the ALCS with a 3-0 shutout of Cleveland at Camden Yards. Scott Erickson was the hero in this one, working eight scoreless before automatic closer Randy Myers punched out two in a perfect ninth. Brady Anderson led off the game with a home run and the Birds never looked back, with Roberto Alomar adding a dinger later in the game.

And on this date in 2012, the Orioles won Game 2 of the ALDS against the Yankees to tie the series, 1-1. In front of a sellout crowd of 48,147 in Baltimore, Wei-Yin Chen delivered a quality start in his postseason debut, and RBI singles by Chris Davis and Mark Reynolds provided just enough offense in a 3-2 victory.