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Friday Bird Droppings: An exhausting Orioles series ends with a bang

The Orioles took three out of four from a bad A’s team, though it wasn’t the crispest series you’ll ever see.

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MLB: Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles
The Orioles have their problems. Adley Rutschman is not one of them.
Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I’ve got some sage advice for you, O’s fans. Whenever you’re feeling a little pessimistic about your favorite team, just remember: we’ve got Adley Rutschman, and nobody else does.

When you employ arguably the best catcher in baseball, any potentially depressing game can transform into a raucous celebration at a moment’s notice. That’s exactly what happened in yesterday’s finale against the Athletics, with one mighty swing from Rutschman clinching both a series victory and a winning homestand in dramatic fashion. Alex Church recapped the wild Orioles win.

In the end, the Orioles mostly took care of business against a team they were supposed to beat, winning three of four against the woeful Athletics. Still, the way it played out didn’t exactly inspire confidence among O’s fans. The Orioles’ pitching staff struggled mightily against a mostly anonymous A’s lineup, with three of the four O’s starters — Grayson Rodriguez, Dean Kremer, and Cole Irvin — failing to complete five innings. The overworked Birds bullpen was again pressed into early duty all too often, with uninspiring results.

Just a few days ago, O’s fans were wondering how the team would make room in the rotation when Kyle Bradish returns from injury. Now the question is, can the Orioles even cobble together five competent starters? That rotation no longer includes Irvin, who will reportedly be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk after his third straight dismal outing yesterday. That case could have been made for Kremer or Rodriguez, too.

The whole series felt like the Orioles were more or less evenly matched against the Athletics — which is not a good thing, considering the A’s aren’t even attempting to compete this year. I shudder to think how that series would have turned out if the Orioles had pitched that way at, say, Yankee Stadium. But hey, a series win is a series win, even if it wasn’t the prettiest. And the Orioles are back above .500 at 7-6.

Thanks again, Adley!


Sources: Orioles optioning Cole Irvin in series of roster moves - School of Roch
I have to admit I did not see this one coming. Irvin is the most veteran guy in the rotation after Kyle Gibson, and the O’s traded a decent prospect for him. I figured his leash would be longer than three starts. But yeah, they were reaaaaally bad starts.

Will the Orioles’ ‘homer hose’ get kinked? - The Athletic
Dan Connolly wonders if the O's will put a kibosh on the Homer Hose celebration. Nah. If anything, the Norfolk Tides will start doing it too, now that the guy who came up with the idea just got optioned down there.

Orioles broadcasters making smooth adjustment to baseball’s new pitch clock – Baltimore Sun
If you have fond memories of hearing stream-of-consciousness anecdotes from baseball broadcasters desperately trying to fill time, perhaps you’re not a fan of the new pitch clock. But the Orioles broadcasters, for one, don’t mind the change.

‘Abbott Elementary’ predicted Adley’s walk-off -
Just one day after the sitcom spoke an Adley walkoff homer into existence, the feat happened in real life. Quinta Brunson, we’re gonna need your next episode to mention the Orioles winning the 2023 World Series.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have a ridiculous number of birthday buddies who played for the Orioles— eight of ‘em, to be precise. The full list: outfielder Jeff Fiorentino (40); catchers Gregg Zaun (52) and Greg Myers (57); right-handed pitchers Mike Trombley (56) and Jay Aldrich (62); left-handed pitchers Brad Pennington (54) and the late Frank Bertaina (b. 1944, d. 2010); and the late infielder Kal Segrist (b. 1931, d. 2015).

On this day in 1990, O’s shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. did not make an error. “Great story,” you scoff. But hold on. Cal then went another 95 games and 431 total chances without committing an error, the longest streaks for a shortstop in MLB history.

Random Orioles game of the day

Let’s take a look at a random O’s game on this date in history, with the year determined by a random number generator. Today’s random number is...1973.

On April 14, 1973. the Orioles defeated the Brewers in Milwaukee, a 5-1 win that also improved their record to 5-1. Starter Doyle Alexander, beginning the third season of what would become a 19-year MLB career, went the distance for the Orioles in his first start of the year, giving up just an unearned run. The Orioles had acquired Alexander when they traded Frank Robinson to the Dodgers two years earlier.

The O’s had only six hits, all singles, but drew seven walks to spark their five-run output. Leadoff man Merv Rettenmund drew three free passes and scored twice, while Terry Crowley contributed a hit and two walks from the #8 spot. Crowley was starting at designated hitter, which was only in its sixth game of existence for the Orioles. That was 50 years ago, and yet there are still people today who think of the DH rule as some newfangled conceit that has ruined the game.