Good morning, Birdland!
Last night’s 8-6 win over the Rays felt like an appropriate encapsulation of the Orioles in this moment. The offense has threats up and down the order, the starting pitching is doing just enough, the bullpen is in the midst of a crisis, and Félix Bautista is incredible.
All of that combines into this: These guys are good!
The Orioles have now taken three out of four from the juggernaut Rays this season. It’s a small sample size to be sure, but considering how dominant the Rays have been against everyone else it feels rather significant.
No team has more road wins than the Orioles’ 23 to this point, including last night’s victory at the fortress that is Tropicana Field. There have been plenty of good teams in baseball history that simply get by with .500 records away from home and then take care of business at the friendly confines. These O’s are excelling regardless of the venue, an experience that would serve them well by the time the postseason rolls around.
And while the offense is already exciting in its current form, there also seems to be room for them to grow. They won’t always get this sort of production from guys like Aaron Hicks or Ryan O’Hearn, and Austin Hays may fall back to earth a bit as well. But they will get Cedric Mullins back soon, and it seems impossible that all of the minor leaguers (Colton Cowser, Jordan Westburg, etc.) will stay in Norfolk all season.
The concerns about the pitching—both the rotation and bullpen—are only going to get larger. Perhaps there are internal solutions to patch things here and there, but it’s quite clear that Mike Elias will need to add talent to the staff at some point. Even if this team may be a tad ahead of his rebuild schedule it would be malpractice to not buy and support a team that is on pace for a 100+ win season.
Too early for Hays to get excited about league-leading average | Roch Kubatko
There has never been a question about Hays’ talent. He’s shown it in spurts during his big league career. But injuries have plagued him, often lingering and impacting his performance even when he isn’t on the IL. So far this year he has been healthy and crushing the baseball.
Pair of Baltimore Orioles Sluggers Get Cleared For Rehab Assignments | SI.com
Some good news! As good as Hicks has been, Mullins will walk right back into the starting lineup when he’s healthy. That could make Hicks into the right fielder and allow Anthony Santander to DH. That’s a fine problem to have. What the Orioles will do with Ryan Mountcastle is harder to determine, especially while O’Hearn is in his current form.
Orioles agree to settle part of MASN pay dispute with Nationals | The Athletic
Cool. It will be nice to not read about this anymore once everything is sewn up.
Hicks helping O’s weather Mullins’ absence | Orioles.com
The Orioles’ front office deserves credit for the decision to add Hicks (I know that I kinda scratched my head when they did it), but they would be lying if they said that this sort of production was what they expected. He’s been terrific and now looks like a guy that the team has to keep in the everyday lineup for the immediate future.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Sendy Rleal turns 43. The 2006 season he spent coming out of the Orioles bullpen was his only big league action.
- Luis Rivera is 45 years old. He pitched in one game for the 2000 O’s.
- Rick Sutcliffe celebrates his 67th birthday. He had a two-season run with the Orioles from 1992 through ‘93, but his place in team history was secured when he started the first Orioles’ home game at Camden Yards.
- The late Eddie Lopat (b. 1918, d. 1992) was born on this day. The southpaw wrapped up his 12-year big league career by spending half the 1955 season in Baltimore.
This day in O’s history
2013 - The Orioles lose 7-6 to the Blue Jays, but they also hit three home runs. That includes Chris Davis’ MLB-leading 27th long ball.