On one hand, it’s good to have a day off from the Orioles after a game like the one they played on Wednesday afternoon. On the other hand, it’s also kind of frustrating, because the most recent O’s memory we’re going to have for over 48 hours is going to be yesterday’s 7-2 loss. Check out my recap of the game for the not-so-lovely totals.
I’ve been thinking over the last few days about one way that this season is kind of like a happier version of 2018. The specific thing making me think this has to do with the trade deadline that’s a bit more than a month away. Five years ago, the month of June was a dour march towards the inevitable tear-down. There was nothing that those guys could do to ward that off. It was too early to trade anyone in June, so we could only impatiently wait to find out when the next era of the Orioles would kick off and what that would be like.
It’s the same impatience I feel as I think about the coming trade deadline this season - just impatient about when the team will be able to add, rather than subtract, from the team. The games that they play over the next month will be important, so in that sense it’s different from 2018. Things aren’t meaningless. But we’re weeks away from the trade for a starter or even reliever that seems like it must happen, a trade or trades that will probably send off prospects we’ve gotten to like, and it’s weird to just be waiting for that.
Things are going well so far without those additions! Really well. Even after yesterday’s loss, the Orioles are 45-28 on the season. Being five games behind the Rays for the division lead should not take away from this. Going into Wednesday’s games, just four MLB teams had a winning percentage over .600. The Orioles were one of them.
They’re on a 100-win pace, and even if you only look at their Pythagorean expected W-L of 40-33, that’s a still pretty good 88-win pace. It may not be good enough to get the Orioles anywhere in a playoff spot by season’s end. If they keep themselves over that .600 winning percentage heading towards the All-Star break, I think that things will work out. That’d be a lot of banked wins.
The nine-game homestand that starts on Friday is about half of the key to that. A disappointing .500 Mariners team awaits first. After that is three games against the Reds, who as of right now have won eleven straight games. Maybe that means they’ll be due to lose by the time they get in town? After that, the somnolent division-leading-but-sub-.500 Twins. The team needs to make some hay in these games. But there’s nothing to do today except wait for that to start happening. And maybe hope that the Rays and Yankees lose.
To any Camden Chat readers whose Venn diagram of Orioles fandom and nerdery intersects in a particular way: Enjoy Final Fantasy XVI release day.
Around the blogO’sphere
Inside Grayson Rodriguez’s effort to rejoin the Orioles rotation (The Baltimore Banner)
Rodriguez described his MLB experience as his “first taste of baseball being difficult.” According to the Banner’s Jon Meoli, Rodriguez has ditched his cutter in the minors, recognizing it’s his fifth-best pitch, and has put work in on tightening up his slider.
The All-Star case for Austin Hays (Orioles.com)
Hays didn’t do anything to add to his All-Star case yesterday specifically, but hopefully he can keep an upward trend going as the voting moves along.
Aaron Hicks, relaxed and comfortable with the Orioles, is providing a spark (The Baltimore Banner)
Can it really be as easy as exiting a toxic environment and going somewhere he can be more relaxed?
Did Yankees blow it with Aaron Hicks, on fire with Orioles? (NJ.com)
If Yankees beat writers are still churning out these sorts of articles in August, I think that means fun things have happened in Birdland.
Joan Jett hung out with the Orioles before yesterday’s game. This did not bring them any good luck.
It’s always nice when you get to see Joan Jett! pic.twitter.com/GABkQWhdCF— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) June 21, 2023
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
On this day last year, Austin Hays hit for the cycle in a game against the Nationals. What remains impressive about this feat is that he pulled it off in only six innings, as the final innings of a 7-0 Orioles win were called off due to rain.
There are several former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2018 six-game infielder Engelb Vielma, 2001 nine-game outfielder Willie Harris, 1996-97 seven-game pitcher Esteban Yan, 1996 three-game pitcher Brian Sackinsky, 1978 outfielder Mike Anderson, and 1961-67 outfielder Russ Snyder. Today is Snyder’s 89th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: baseball Hall of Famer Carl Hubbell (1903), country artist Kris Kristofferson (1936), author Octavia Butler (1947), actress Meryl Streep (1949), singer-songwriter Cyndi Lauper (1953), and actor Donald Faison (1974).
On this day in history...
In 1633, Galileo Galilei was forced by the Catholic Church to issue a recantation of his correct view that the Earth orbits the Sun, rather than the other way around.
In 1941, Nazi Germany initiated Operation Barbarossa, its surprise invasion of the Soviet Union. The Eastern Front of World War II opened by this invasion involved more soldiers in combat than any other theater of war in human history. The Germans reached the outskirts of Moscow by the end of September but could not topple the Russian capital.
In 1969, the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland, Ohio caught on fire.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on June 22. Have a safe Thursday.