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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles have some recurring starting pitching problems

The defense has had its challenges too

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

The Orioles are now 6-6 on the 2023 season, somehow already six games behind the still-undefeated Tampa Bay Rays. That’s ridiculous. What’s also ridiculous is the way the Orioles lost last night’s game to the Athletics, a stupid 8-4 setback to an Oakland team that had a poor offense, at least until this series came along. Check out Stacey’s recap of the game for the not-so-lovely totals.

There are two big problems for the Orioles as they have played along these first dozen games. The first is that their starting pitchers aren’t doing too well. Dean Kremer was another example of this last night, giving up four runs in an outing where he couldn’t even get himself through the fifth inning. This against the Athletics, who were not expected to be good and have not been good! It’s discouraging. Kremer might be pitching himself into getting booted from the rotation if Kyle Bradish is able to make a return as currently expected next week.

The other big problem is that things still aren’t going great with the outfield defense. Whatever was going on there doesn’t seem to have stayed in Boston. Last night’s game saw multiple instances of outfielders caught napping, leading to Oakland runners taking an extra base in ways that resulted in a run scoring each time. Austin Hays and Ryan McKenna were each a culprit once on Wednesday. It’s got to get figured out, because as we’re getting an inkling so far, the rest of the team is not good enough to always overcome these problems.

Oh yeah, and maybe there’s actually a third problem, which is that the bullpen could be kind of a mess. Both Keegan Akin and Cionel Pérez encountered problems in Wednesday’s game. There are now four relievers who have ERAs over 5.00. It is early in the season yet, so a couple of bad outings can really inflate the ERA. Maybe some of these guys can do better than this. But a team that missed out on the playoffs by three games last year and is hoping to make up that gap this year can’t afford to give away too many games from bad relievers, so hopefully they can figure out who’s really busted and who’s worth keeping soon.

As stupid as last night’s game was, the Orioles will get one more shot against these Athletics in today’s 1:05 series finale. If they are able to win today’s game, they will have won three out of four in the series, and it’s hard to ever be too upset with that. They need to actually win it, though. A split against the Athletics here at home will not feel like a success.

It will be up to Cole Irvin to pitch a good game against his former team. He has yet to have a good start in an Orioles uniform, although it’s only been two games. Oakland counters with Adam Oller. He has a career ERA of 6.11. There is only one acceptable outcome. We will see if the Orioles who take the field today are capable of delivering it.

Around the blogO’sphere

Four hitters who should have your early-season attention (FanGraphs)
The right-handed hitting version of Adley Rutschman has made this list of players who seem to have made some improvements from last year compared to this year.

Rodriguez is probably here to stay, but he still has some growing up to do (Baltimore Baseball)
Dean Kremer’s disastrous start to the 2023 season does seem to open up a more obvious possible path for what to do when Kyle Bradish is back from the injured list.

The Orioles have fewer games against AL East foes, but they aren’t convinced that’s a good thing (The Baltimore Banner)
Andy Kostka’s take is that fewer divisional games means that each individual game is imbued with greater stakes. Good thing the Orioles have lost both divisional series so far!

Orioles can’t hide any longer (School of Roch)
Roch has noticed that the national press seems to have noticed the Orioles for positive reasons. Let’s, uh, hope that they keep noticing the Orioles for positive reasons.

Starting rotation mostly uneven for Orioles through first two weeks of season (Press Box)
Almost seems like the Orioles might have been better off investing in a more serious free agent starting pitcher this offseason!

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1954, the Orioles played the first game in team history. They lost to the Tigers, 3-0, the first of what would end up being 100 losses in the team’s inaugural season.

There is one lone former Oriole with a birthday today. Happy 40th to Steve Pearce, whose out-of-nowhere contributions to the 2014 Orioles are the stuff of legends. Pearce ended up playing here every year from 2012 through 2016, batting a combined .255/.337/.473 as an Oriole. Pretty good overall.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Gunpowder Plotter Guy Fawkes (1570), 3rd president Thomas Jefferson (1743), Wild West outlaw Butch Cassidy (1866), poet Samuel Beckett (1906), chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov (1963), and singer Lou Bega (1975).

On this day in history...

In 1742, the George Frideric Handel oratorio Messiah, most famous for its “Hallelujah” chorus, received its premiere performance in Dublin, Ireland.

In 1861, the Army base of Fort Sumter, located outside of Charleston, South Carolina, surrendered to insurrectionist forces. The attack on the fort the previous day is recognized as the beginning of the Civil War.

In 1943, the Jefferson Memorial in Washington, DC received its dedication for the occasion of the 200th anniversary of Thomas Jefferson’s birth.

In 1964, Sydney Poitier received the Best Actor Award at the Academy Awards for his performance in Lillies of the Field. In winning, he became the first Black man to receive the award.

In 1970, the Apollo 13 mission suffered its catastrophic failure when an oxygen tank exploded and caused major damage to the command and service module. A hectic four days later, the three astronauts safely returned to Earth.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on April 13. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!