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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles have gone West

The O’s begin a weekend series in San Francisco, with the first two games scheduled for 10 PM East Coast time. Stay caffeinated, folks.

Texas Rangers v. Baltimore Orioles
Brandon Hyde is making his first visit to San Francisco as Orioles manager.
Photo by Rob Tringali/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

If your idea of a good time is staying up until the wee hours of the morning watching O’s baseball, I have great news for you.

After successfully avoiding any west coast trips for the first two months of the season, the Orioles will begin their June slate with a trip to San Francisco for an interleague battle against that other orange and black team. Tonight’s game starts at 10:15 PM on the east coast. Tomorrow night’s is 10:05. Be honest, Camden Chatters, how many of you are planning on watching any of those two games? And would your answer be different if the O’s weren’t coming off of one of their most uninspiring losses of the season?

This is the Orioles’ first trip to San Fran since 2016, their most recent playoff season. That series ended in an emphatic way for that quality O’s club, with a dramatic, come-from-behind victory in which the Orioles rallied back from a six-run deficit in the seventh, capped by Jonathan Schoop’s go-ahead, three-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning. Those were good times.

No Orioles player or coach from that 2016 series is still with the present-day Birds, except for reliever Mychal Givens, and even he left the O’s for a few years in between. But this totally revamped Orioles club is almost exactly as good as that last one. The 2016 Orioles were 15 games over .500 when their series in San Francisco began. The 2023 Orioles are 14 games over .500.

Will the current version of the Orioles pull off any last at-bat heroics at AT&T Park again? And if they do, will any O’s fans still be awake to witness it?


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Cano, despite pitching like a mere mortal of late, has been one of the most exciting stories of the 2023 Orioles. Nathan Ruiz talks to the man himself about his arduous journey to get to this point.

Hicks is eager to revive his career with the Orioles -
I’m glad Aaron Hicks is excited to join the Orioles, but somehow I’m reminded of last year’s Brett Phillips press conference in which he said he wanted to win a World Series with the O’s, then was DFA’d like two weeks later. Hicks probably shouldn’t be planning for a long-term stay.

Vavra left to meet outfield challenges with Mullins down - School of Roch
Terrin Vavra getting significant time in left field is not something I would have put down on my preseason Orioles bingo card.

A unique trend continued for O’s pitching in the Cleveland series - Steve Melewski
Melewski notes that the Orioles seem to have a habit of pitching poorly against bad-hitting teams and pitching well against good-hitting teams. Aha! So it’s not just my imagination.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! The three former Orioles born on this day were left-hander Jack O’Connor (65), infielder Bob Saverine (82), and the late first baseman Roger Freed (b. 1946, d. 1996).

On this day in 1959, an Orioles/White Sox game at Chicago’s Comiskey Park was halted by a swarm of gnats on the field. After a half hour delay, the grounds crew unleashed a smoke bomb to drive off the pesky insects.

And on this date in 2016, the Orioles smacked seven home runs in one game, one shy of the franchise record set the previous year. Mark Trumbo and Adam Jones smacked two apiece, and Manny Machado, Pedro Alvarez, and backup catcher Francisco Pena also homered in the Birds’ 12-7 win over the Red Sox at Camden Yards.

Random Orioles game of the day

On June 2, 2001, the Orioles blanked the Athletics, 7-0, in an all-around well-played game at Network Associates Coliseum. The O’s pounded out 15 hits, including four by designated hitter David Segui, and ran wild on the basepaths with four stolen bases, three by Jerry Hairston Jr. On the mound, rookie right-hander Josh Towers was sensational in his second major league start, throwing seven scoreless innings. Former Athletic Buddy Groom worked the final two innings to complete the Orioles shutout.

At the end of that game, both teams had identical 26-28 records, but their paths parted rapidly. The Athletics went on to win 102 games and advance to the Division Series, while the Orioles finished 63-98.