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Monday Bird Droppings: It’s an exciting time in Birdland

The Orioles won their weekend series, improved to 18 games over .500, and tonight will welcome another one of their highly touted prospects to the majors. Live it up, O’s fans!

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Seattle Mariners v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

If there’s anyone reading this who is not already an Orioles fan, well...climb aboard the bandwagon! There’s plenty of room.

The vibes are impeccable in Birdland right now. The O’s are 18 games over .500 for the fourth time this year, securing a series win over the Mariners with a well-played, 3-2 victory in Sunday’s rubber game. They once again boast the third-best record in baseball. And the organization’s pipeline of young talent continues to burst at the seams, bringing yesterday’s news that much-hyped infield prospect Jordan Westburg will make his major league debut for the Orioles tonight.

Westburg has appeared big league ready for quite some time now, batting .295/.372/.567 with 18 home runs in 67 games for Triple-A Norfolk this year, following a half-season with the Tides in 2022 in which he OPS’ed .869. The Orioles, perhaps not wanting to disrupt a big league roster that has enjoyed plenty of success so far, have resisted the urge to call up Westburg until now. It seems they’ve finally come to the conclusion that he has nothing left to prove in the minors. The ice-cold bats of middle infielders Jorge Mateo and Adam Frazier may well have played a role in their decision, too.

It’s not immediately clear what position Westburg will mainly play, or if he’ll simply rotate around the diamond as he’d been doing at Norfolk (33 starts at short, 18 at third base, six at second base, and even five starts in right field). But that bat has the potential to play anywhere.

The Birds’ next three games against Cincinnati will be a must-watch, something that hasn’t been said about an O’s/Reds series since the 1970 Fall Classic. The Reds are sort of like the 2022 Orioles — a recently moribund franchise that has transformed into a successful, fun, young team filled with athletic, exciting prospects. Elly De La Cruz, the #1 prospect in baseball by some rankings who is 17 games in to his big league career, will face off against Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, who both held the title of #1 prospect at various points last year. And now Westburg is on hand to join them.

Tonight’s opener airs on MASN at 7:05. You won’t want to miss it.


Bradish barrels through Mariners lineup, Bemboom gets key hit, Bautista gets redemption (updated) - Blog
There were almost too many Orioles heroes to count yesterday. And this headline doesn’t even mention Anthony Santander, who both hit a homer and robbed one.

Updated Top 100 Prospects list for June 2023 -
Oh, and if things weren’t already awesome enough for the Orioles, guess which team now has the #1 prospect in baseball again? Yeah, you know it. Jackson Holliday edges out De La Cruz for the top spot in MLB Pipeline’s updated rankings.

Orioles to call up infield prospect Jordan Westburg, per source: What he brings to Baltimore - The Athletic
Keith Law offers his thoughts on the Orioles’ promotion of Westburg. It feels like this article could also use the perspective of an O’s beat writer, but The Athletic in its infinite wisdom laid him off last week.

Reviewing Elias’ Orioles trades -
Rich Dubroff looks back on Mike Elias trade history as O's general manager, and you won’t be surprised to learn that most of them have turned out quite nicely. (Dubroff does Elias a solid by not mentioning the Mike Yastrzemski-for-Tyler Herb swap.)

Austin Hays’ Orioles teammates believe he’s deserving of an All-Star nod: ‘It’s been a special first half’ - Baltimore Sun
Austin Hays has been pretty darn sensational this year. Hopefully his fellow players are aware enough to vote him in as an All-Star reserve.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 31st birthday to current O’s right-hander Austin Voth. This probably isn’t how he hoped to celebrate — by being sidelined on the injured list with right elbow discomfort after struggling to a 4.94 ERA in 23 games — but because it’s his big day, let’s focus on the positive. Remember how awesome he was for the Orioles last year, when he basically came out of nowhere to post a 3.04 ERA and stabilize the starting rotation? Much appreciated, Austin! Hope you get well soon and recapture your 2022 form.

Former Orioles born on June 26 include infielder Luis Hernández (39), right-hander Mike Griffin (66), and the late outfielder “Mean” Gene Green, which was not actually his nickname. Green (b. 1933, d. 1981) appeared in a single game for the Orioles in 1960.

On this date in 1970, the Orioles’ Frank Robinson hit grand slams in consecutive innings in a 12-2 rout of the Washington Senators. In the fifth, he went yard against starter Joe Coleman with the bases loaded, giving the O’s at 5-0 lead. He came up again in the sixth with the bases juiced, this time against reliever Joe Grzenda...and swatted another salami, breaking the game open. This Frank Robinson guy was pretty good!

Random Orioles game of the day

On June 26, 2007, the Orioles beat the Yankees, 3-2, on a walkoff walk, in front of nearly 40,000 fans at Camden Yards. A pitcher’s duel between Jeremy Guthrie and Andy Pettitte deadlocked the clubs in a 2-2 tie until the bottom of the ninth, when Yankees reliever Scott Proctor couldn’t throw strikes. He walked Corey Patterson — who reached base four times that day — and gave up a single, then walked Nick Markakis on four pitches before losing Ramon Hernandez on a 3-2 pitch to force home the winning run. With the victory, the O’s were still just 33-43 for the season, but they improved to 4-3 under interim manager Dave Trembley, who had replaced the fired Sam Perlozzo a week earlier.