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Saturday Bird Droppings: Rough spot for the rookie

The holiday weekend starts with a loss, G-Rod struggling, and injury updates.

Texas Rangers v. Baltimore Orioles Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

Sometimes you just get beat, and that’s what happened to the Orioles on Friday night. The Rangers have one of the best offenses in baseball, which was unfortunate for Grayson Rodriguez. The rookie was lit up, ballooning his season ERA to 7.35. Meanwhile, the O’s lineup (minus Adley Rutschman) couldn’t do much against Jon Gray, who is in midst of the hottest streak in his career.

Nothing could happen in a one-game sample size that would worry me long term about these Orioles. But it has been far more than one bad game for Rodriguez. In five starts this month he has allowed 27 runs (26 of them earned) over just 21 innings. His batting line against is .358/.415/.811 and he has allowed 11 home runs while striking out 22 and walking 10.

O’s manager Brandon Hyde summed it up by saying that Rodriguez “just didn’t really have his fastball can out-stuff people below us, but here you have to be able to command the baseball. He’s just had a few appearances where he wasn’t able to do that.”

Struggling as a rookie is nothing to be ashamed or overly concerned about for Rodriguez. Remember how bad Kyle Bradish was in the first half last year? He came back much better after an IL stint and a few starts down on the farm

I’m not sure what the answer is for Rodriguez. The guy is clearly talented, and it’s not like he wilts against good teams. He had a nice outing in the Tampa series just a few weeks ago and was fine in Toronto just recently. But he is not consistently on his game, and that often leads to oodles of walks or pitches that catch too much of the plate.

Given that this Orioles organization has turned guys with far less in their arsenal into competitive big league pitchers, I’m confident they will solve whatever it is that is ailing Rodriguez. But it will take time. He’s a rookie. And he isn’t going to be throwing 200 innings this year. The Orioles will also need to plan accordingly. They will need starting pitching reinforcements at some point.


Mike Elias expects the Orioles to be ‘buyers’ at the trade deadline. How much is the question. | The Baltimore Sun
The deadline is still two months away, and a lot can happen. If things remain relatively steady, then the goal is clear. The Orioles need a boost in the starting rotation, and I could see a scenario where they also seek out a left-handed bench bat to supplant Ryan O’Hearn.

John Means Suffers Back Muscle Strain | MLB Trade Rumors
Well, that sucks. It sounds like he should still be back with the team at some point, but it’s rather ambiguous at this point. Even more reason to add a starter at the deadline.

Elias details setbacks for Means and Tate | Roch Kubatko
A bunch of quotes from Mike Elias on the Means and Dillon Tate setbacks. The Tate issue of a “stress reaction” sounds more serious than it is, apparently. He won’t be in the big leagues tomorrow, but it should not be too much longer.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Miguel González turns 39 today. The righty became a key member for the Orioles pitching staff out of nowhere in 2012. From that season through 2015 he had a 3.82 ERA over 580.1 total innings, a major contributor to two playoff teams in that time.

This day in O’s history

1960 - In an effort to better handle knuckleballer Hoyt Wilhelm, Orioles catcher Clint Courtney sports an oversized catcher’s mitt behind the plate. It goes well as there are no passed balls, and the Orioles beat the Yankees 3-2. But the mitt will later be banned by MLB.

2022 - The Orioles beat the Red Sox 12-8. The win includes 10 unanswered runs that came after the O’s were down 8-2 to heading into the seventh inning. Jorge Mateo hits a three-run homer in the seventh, Austin Hays goes deep with one runner on in the eighth, and they manufacture four more runs in the ninth to clinch the win.