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Saturday Bird Droppings: Jackie Robinson Day!

Rutschman is incredible, the O’s keep swiping bags, Bradish rehabs, and the optics of Irvin’s demotion.

Baltimore Orioles v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

OK, this Adley Rutschman guy is pretty good. He was on base four more times on Friday night, including a massive seventh inning double that came with the bases loaded to pull the Orioles from down by two to up by one. That single swing of the bat increased the Orioles’ win probability by 46.2%!

Rutschman probably won’t continue to hit .377 all year, but he also doesn’t look susceptible to the dreaded sophomore slump either. He’s walking more than he’s striking out, seems to be in complete control of the strike zone, and has seen his power production explode in the season’s early stages.

It’s been an MVP-esque start to the year for the Orioles’ backstop, and the team has needed every ounce of it. Anthony Santander and Gunnar Henderson, two bats that were expected to drive in oodles of runs, have struggled out of the gate, and Cedric Mullins’ .300 OBP atop the lineup hasn’t done the best job of table setting.

But you have to believe that each of those big names bounces back in some significant way as the season goes on. Santander and Mullins have long enough track records at this point to suggest as much, and Henderson’s talent will eventually shine through.

In the meantime, Rutschman seems perfectly comfortable shouldering the load, and you can understand why Brandon Hyde is eager to keep him in the lineup every single day. His presence alone changes the game.


How teams will celebrate Jackie Robinson Day |
It’s been 76 years since Jackie Robinson broke MLB’s color barrier, and today every organization in the league will honor his legacy once again by donning his retired number 42 jersey and taking part in community activities that reflect his life’s work.

Thinking more about Orioles thefts and how Cano came through in clutch | Roch Kubatko
It has been a long time since the Orioles had this sort of juice on the base-paths. Mullins and Jorge Mateo are the clear features, but Henderson and Ryan Mountcastle also possess sneaky speed.

Kyle Bradish goes five tonight, pronounces rehab game for Bowie a success | Steve Melewski
The box score isn’t terribly flattering for Bradish, but the fact that he threw 82 pitches and got through five innings is a good sign. His foot seems to be feeling better, and he is on his way back to the rotation.

Cole Irvin’s surprise demotion shows Orioles are operating in a post-rebuild world | The Baltimore Sun
I’m tempted to say that even the Orioles of old would have thought about demoting a guy with a 10+ ERA through three starts. Yes, the goal of winning games is new around these parts, but the team has also prioritized player development and long term outlook. Considering Irvin is under team control through 2026, it behooves both the current team and the future to get him sorted out.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Chris Tillman turns 35. The big righty spent his entire 10-season career with the Orioles after coming over from the Mariners organization alongside Adam Jones in one of the most impactful trades in team history.
  • Michael Aubrey is 41 years old. The infielder appeared in 31 games for the 2009 O’s.

This day in O’s history

1954 - The Orioles play their first home game following the club’s relocation from St. Louis. The O’s beat the White Sox 3-1 in front of 46,354 people at Memorial Stadium.

2000 - Cal Ripken Jr. records his 3,000th career hit, a single off of Twins pitcher Hector Carrasco. Ripken is the 24th big leaguer to reach the milestone and the seventh to have 3,000 hits and 400 home runs.