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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Birds are on a roll

Another win, Mateo is feeling better, Holliday is on fire, and the genesis of Rodriguez’s changeup.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

Scoring seven runs across three games is not typically a recipe for success, but the Orioles have somehow converted that into a trio of wins this week. Even better, it’s part of a run of form that has seen that win eight of their last 10 games. That latest was a walk-off 2-1 win on Friday night.

The secret ingredient has been a rock solid pitching staff. Tyler Wells was fantastic on Friday, getting through seven scoreless with his contact-friendly approach that allows him to be more economical with his pitch count. This entire trip through the rotation has been pretty great. I’m not worried about Félix Bautista. For the second straight outing, the O’s closer did not have his best stuff. The fastball had all of its normal velocity and then some, but the splitter was off. The Orioles need to play fewer close games so the guy can take an extended break.

That effort would be helped by the offense getting back on track. Adley Rutschman is in the midst of a slump. It happens. The rest of the lineup needs to pick up the slack in the meantime. Rutschman might also need some rest. He has played in every one of the Orioles’ games, either as catcher or DH. That’s a pretty big ask, and a day off wouldn’t be unreasonable.

Beating up on the Athletics, White Sox, Nationals, and Tigers is not exactly proof that our Birds are ready to contend for a World Series. But winning these games is still crucial. Good teams with playoff aspirations need to take advantage of the weaker portions of their schedule. Remember when the 2021 Rays bested the O’s 18 out of 19 times? That’s what a 100-win team should do to a 110-loss team, and it’s part of the reason they won the AL East by eight games. For the 2023 version of the Orioles, these wins could be the difference between a playoff spot and staying home in October.


Mateo provides update on sore hip | Roch Kubatko
This was some great news. Jorge Mateo has been an unexpected rockstar in the bottom third of the Orioles’ lineup this year, and his speed and defense are game-changers regardless of his performance at the plate.

Holliday’s torrid stretch finds new level with first homers of ‘23 |
A home run is all that was missing from Jackson Holliday’s first month of the season. The Orioles’ soon-to-be top prospect is unfazed by Low-A pitching (1.214 OPS through 12 games). Mike Elias likes to see players dominate a minor league level, and this certainly qualifies. Any beachgoers hoping to sneak in a Holliday game as part of their Eastern Shore vacation this summer may have to go without. This guy needs to get to Aberdeen with a quickness.

How a former MLB pitcher helped Orioles rookie Grayson Rodriguez learn his ‘disgusting’ changeup | The Baltimore Sun
The conception and evolution of a pitch is always somewhat fascinating. I’m not sure if any details are missing here, but it’s interesting that the Orioles simply told Rodriguez to “go develop a changeup” over an offseason back in 2018 with no further explanation. What he came back with is turning into a weapon at the big league level.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Rylan Bannon is 27 today. One piece of the Manny Machado trade in 2018, Bannon played in just four games for the Orioles in 2022 before they DFA’d him. As of this writing, he is a bench player for the Astros.
  • Jimmy Key turns 62 today. The southpaw wrapped up his 15-season MLB career with two seasons in Baltimore from 1997-98.
  • Dave Schmidt is 66 years old. From 1987-89 he tossed over 400 innings for the O’s, split between the rotation and the bullpen.
  • The late John Orsino (b. 1938, d. 2016) was born on this day. He played catcher and first base for Orioles between 1964 and ‘66.

This day in O’s history

1914 - Babe Ruth, a 19-year-old pitcher, plays his first professional game for the International League’s Baltimore Orioles. Ruth, a Baltimore native, tosses a six-hit shutout and records two hits of his own at the plate.