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Wednesday Bird Droppings: These birds are on fire

Another win makes it five in a row, chasing down the Rays, Mountcastle to the IL, and the emergence of Basallo.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

The Orioles are having themselves a moment. Their 11-6 win last night was their fifth in a row. That, paired with another improbable loss for the Rays against the Athletics, has the deficit in the AL East back down to four games. There’s a lot of season left to play, but this could happen, folks.

At 42-24, the Orioles are back as the second-best record in all of baseball. FanGraphs has inched their playoff odds ahead of these Blue Jays to 58.3%. Although they still don’t totally buy these Birds, projecting them to go .500 the rest of the way. But how cool is it that a .500 record for the remainder of the season would be enough for the O’s to win 90 games on the nose?

Gunnar Henderson is playing like his beautiful flowing hair is on fire. He’s on a six-game hitting streak and owns a 1.643 OPS with four home runs in that span. That batting average that hovered right around .200 for the entire season is all the way up to .246. It won’t always be this easy, but the early-season struggles do seem to be behind us for now.

The offense, in general, is clicking. And this is being done with Cedric Mullins and Ryan Mountcastle on the IL, and Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser in Norfolk. Things could get even better as the weather warms up and the absolute best talent in the organization floats to Baltimore.

Meanwhile the rotation is languishing in the bottom third of MLB in most statistics. Maybe a reinvigorated Cole Irvin can provide some needed length at one spot, but the team really needs an impact arm somewhere. Grayson Rodriguez may yet be that guy. A more sure thing from someone with an MLB track record would feel a lot better.

If the O’s can’t pull off a trade for a big-time starter, then maybe they reinforce their bullpen further? There are always worthwhile relievers available at the deadline, and it wouldn’t be the worst idea to get some additional support for Félix Bautista, especially if Yennier Cano is slowly turning back into a pumpkin. The injury setbacks for Mychal Givens and Dillon Tate may prove to be nothing long term, but it is worrying that the unit won’t have the depth they expected as the season wears on. Mike Elias has seven weeks to figure that out


Orioles place Ryan Mountcastle on 10-day injured list with vertigo, designate top-20 prospect Noah Denoyer for assignment | The Baltimore Sun
This was the bit of bad news from Tuesday. The encouraging part is that Mountcastle was said to be feeling “much, much better” ahead of this decision. That’s great! But obviously, vertigo is no joke, and he should take it slow. The decision to DFA Denoyer and add a third-string catcher in his place is strange. The righty was just protected from the Rule 5 draft in December, so clearly there was something intriguing about him. Six months later that apparently wasn’t enough keep him around.

This, that and the other | Roch Kubatko
Remember how incredible Tim Beckham was for the Orioles out of the gate in 2017? Ryan O’Hearn has been even better within the confines of Camden Yards. That’s pretty neat. There is plenty of evidence to suggest there are some smoke and mirrors at work, but that doesn’t matter much for a guy like O’Hearn, who is doing the best work of his career.

Samuel Basallo, among Baseball America’s youngest top 100 prospects, is making waves | The Baltimore Sun
Basallo probably won’t be the Orioles’ first international player of the Mike Elias era to reach the big leagues. Cesar Prieto, a 2022 signee after defecting from Cuba, is likely to get that distinction. But Basallo is on his way to being the sort of difference-maker the O’s had been missing out on from the years of ignoring that avenue of player acquisition.

Who’s leading off for the Orioles? (Ep. 108) | The Warehouse Podcast
By the time we got this episode posted it was already rather out of date. That’s life in the podcast business, baby. Gunnar Henderson is probably going to be leading off for the foreseeable after this recent run of form. But you can still go subscribe if you haven’t already!

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

Unfortunately, no former Orioles players were born on this day, but it is the birthday of musician Boy George (b. 1961), tennis player Steffi Graf (b. 1969), and former Ravens cornerback Chris McAlister (b. 1977),

This day in O’s history

1985 - Earl Weaver comes out of retirement to manage the Orioles, replacing Joe Altobelli. He stays on through the end of the 1986 season.