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Wednesday Bird Droppings: Ryan Mountcastle is hitting the ball hard and far

The O’s win in wacky fashion, Rodriguez pitches like a rookie, and fun times in Birdland.

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

Good morning, Birdland!

Well, that game was getting ugly until Ryan Mountcastle made it absolutely beautiful. The Orioles beat the Athletics 12-8 in a game that most of the pitchers that toed the rubber would like to pretend never happened.

Grayson Rodriguez got his first Camden Yards start, and the rookie looked amped up. His velocity was great! But he had trouble locating just about everything, elevating breaking balls that often turned into hits and issuing four walks in just 4.1 innings. The righty got a no decision and his ERA ballooned in his second career start, but there were certainly some positives to build on.

I’m not so sure the same can be said of Austin Voth, who looked bad again in relief. He allowed all of the runners he inherited from Rodriguez to score and then some. To be fair, he is not the type of pitcher that makes the most sense to use mid-inning. The guy was mostly a starter last year, so perhaps the team could do a better job of setting him up for success.

At least Bryan Baker and Danny Coulombe continues to mow hitters down. Ya have to capture lightning in a bottle with relievers sometimes, and those two have their repertoire working at the moment.

Ultimately, this game was about one person: Mountcastle. The Orioles’ first baseman has brought the power this season, something the team desperately needs considering the slow start to the year for guys like Anthony Santander, Gunnar Henderson, and Cedric Mullins.

Despite the lack of production from some of the team’s biggest names, the Orioles are still a top 10 offense. Mountcastle converting his strong exit velocities from last year into long balls this year is a big reason why. Hopefully that continues as the weather warms up, something that tends to increase home runs overall.

I’m tempted to say it would be great if he could also strikeout less and walk more, but this feels like a situation where you take the good with the bad. Mountcastle is a productive hitter as is, and if you sap some of his power in favor of patience I’m not sure that improves his overall value. Just keep doing you.


In Camden Yards debut, Grayson Rodriguez gives Orioles another decision to make | The Baltimore Sun
It sounds like Rodriguez will get at least one more start before Kyle Bradish is ready to return to the rotation. If the rookie is lights out that day it’s tough to see the team sending him back to Norfolk, especially if someone else in the rotation is struggling. But if he repeats what he did on Tuesday, where his arm is live but wild, then it almost seems like a guarantee he is the one demoted.

Lineup shuffling in the cards for the Orioles | Roch Kubatko
I’m happy to see Brandon Hyde trying different things with the lineup early in the season. There is a lot to juggle with some of the aforementioned struggles.

With homers, steals and celebrations, Orioles’ young talent delivering an exciting brand of baseball | The Baltimore Sun
The Orioles looked like an exciting team on paper coming into the year, and they have played like one so far. Fingers crossed that it gets even better when things click for some members of the roster that are expected to be big contributors.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Brad Brach turns 37. The righty was a fixture in the Baltimore bullpen from 2014 through 2018, peaking with an all-star appearance in 2016.
  • The late Charlie Lau (b. 1933, d. 1984) was born on this day. He had two stints as the Orioles’ catcher, first from 1961-63 and then again from 1964-67 with a stint in Kansas City squeezed in between.
  • Mel Held is 94 years old today. He pitched in four games for the ‘56 O’s, his only major league experience.
  • A posthumous birthday for Bill Wight (b. 1922, d. 2007), a southpaw that had a three-year run with the Birds from 1955 through ‘57.

This day in O’s history

2010 - Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts hits the disabled list with an abdominal strain that will keep him on the shelf until late July. Recently acquired Julio Lugo and eventual all-star Ty Wigginton will share the second base role in Roberts’ absence.

2016 - A 9-5 win over the Red Sox means the Orioles extend their run as the only unbeaten team left in the league, a 7-0 record on the young season.