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Saturday Bird Droppings: The Orioles need bullpen help

A blowout loss to the Cubs further exposed a weakness of the Orioles’ roster: their middling middle relief.

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MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Chicago Cubs David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

In case you missed that the Orioles’ series opener at Wrigley Field was a day game instead of a night game, well, consider yourself lucky you didn’t see it. Bad pitching ruled the day for the Birds in a 10-3 blowout loss to the Cubs that I had the misfortune of recapping.

Cole Irvin was gopher ball prone, but the bulk of the Cubs’ offensive damage was done against a group of ineffective O’s middle relievers, including Mike Baumann, Cionel Pérez, and recent addition Reed Garrett. The sixth-inning meltdown highlighted an area in which the Orioles need to improve: their middle relief.

It’s not that the Birds’ bullpen has been a problem as a whole. The team has a 3.42 bullpen ERA that rates sixth-best in the majors. They have three reliable late-inning options in Danny Coulombe, Yennier Cano, and dominant closer Félix Bautista. And Baumann and Bryan Baker have contributed more good than bad. But the Orioles seem to be lacking depth in the middle innings. The ongoing struggles of Pérez and the now-injured Austin Voth haven’t helped matters. The O’s have cycled through guys like Garrett, Logan Gillaspie, and Mychal Givens with unfortunate results. It feels like this bullpen is just one or two guys short.

Perhaps Dillon Tate, a key contributor from last year’s bullpen, could be a solution. He’s been on the injured list all year but just recently began his second rehab assignment. It would also help if Givens, who never looked right in his six-game stint earlier this year, can work his way back to full health and regain his velocity. Or, who knows, perhaps Mike Elias has a trade up his sleeve for a back-end reliever to help Cano and Bautista, which would allow the O’s to slide Coulombe or Baker into more of a middle-relief role.

This may not be an issue that will make or break the Orioles’ season, but it’s worth keeping an eye on.


Orioles lose to Cubs, 10-3; Irvin allows 3 homers in 3rd; Bullpen gives up 6 runs in 6th -
Of Cole Irvin, Brandon Hyde said, “Besides those three homers, I thought he did a nice job,” which has a very “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, did you like the play?” quality to it.

Trey Mancini knew a return to the Orioles was ‘off the table.’ It didn’t dull his love for Baltimore. - Baltimore Sun
This just in: Trey Mancini is still the absolute classiest guy.

Orioles’ Jordan Westburg focuses on his game, not a call-up - The Athletic
In Dan Connolly’s final piece for The Athletic, he interviews Jordan Westburg, who is keeping his head up despite not getting a big league call-up yet. Here’s hoping we see both Westburg in the majors and Connolly writing for another outlet in the very near future.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! The only player in O’s history with a June 17 birthday is 1955-56 outfielder Dave Pope (b. 1921, d. 1999).

On this date in 2005, the Orioles’ Miguel Tejada played his 822nd consecutive game — which began with the Oakland Athletics in 2000 — to tie for ninth place on the all-time list. Tejada would eventually extend his streak to 1,152, fifth longest in MLB history, before it ended with an injury in June 2007.

And on this day in 2009, Matt Wieters hit his first major league home run, a second-inning, opposite-field blast off the Mets’ Tim Redding at Camden Yards. It came in Wieters’ 14th career game, helping the Orioles to a 6-4 interleague win.

Random Orioles game of the day

On June 17, 2011, the Orioles lost to the Nationals, 8-4, in the Battle of the Beltways at Nationals Park. Starting pitcher Zack Britton showed off with the bat — roping an RBI double to give himself a 2-0 lead — but struggled on the mound, coughing up four runs in the fourth inning. Only one run was earned due to a Mark Reynolds error at third base. The Nats broke a four-all tie with a three-run rally in the sixth. The loss dropped the Orioles to 31-36.