Are we making it through that All-Star break boredom? Speaking as someone who, counting these Bird Droppings, has posted 14 articles to this website since Sunday morning, I’m glad for the baseball-less nights of last night and tonight. Nothing happening that I need to pay any more attention to is fine with me.
At the same time, I’m also impatiently awaiting the resumption of the Orioles season, because things have been pretty darn great so far and I’m looking forward to seeing how that continues. Another gauntlet awaits coming right out of the All-Star break, as the Orioles will be playing teams that are either currently in a playoff spot or within one game from July 15 to August 3.
They’ve mostly passed the tough streak tests up to this point and the roster feels like it’s better now with the arrival of prospects Jordan Westburg and Colton Cowser. The Orioles have a pretty solid lineup from top to bottom right now, as even guys who are less popular like Ramón Urías and Adam Frazier are hitting well enough for the other value they offer. This is less the case for Ryan Mountcastle, Jorge Mateo, and James McCann, but hey. The team is 54-35, only two games back in the East and five clear of the nearest wild card competition. Being realistic about the weaknesses shouldn’t take away from that fun.
I do remain unconvinced that the Orioles starting rotation is going to remain good enough, with its current players, to keep the O’s in such a lofty place or get them very far if they do make the postseason like this. And I’m still nervous at the relief corps beyond Félix Bautista, Yennier Cano, and Danny Coulombe. The rotation has one internal answer if Grayson Rodriguez returns and does well. The bullpen, less so.
Today marks 19 days until this year’s edition of the trade deadline. If the Orioles are going to try to solve these problems from the outside for this season, that’s the date to keep an eye on. The moves probably won’t be happening today, unless Mike Elias decides to take advantage of my running errands this afternoon to do something. It’s happened before and will happen again.
Another deadline is much closer. Fortunate son John Angelos months ago suggested that the announcement of a new lease between the Orioles and the Maryland Stadium Authority for Oriole Park at Camden Yards would make a great All-Star gift for O’s fans.
Angelos did not make this promise with the same fervor as his multiple, since-broken promises to offer O’s reporters access to the team’s financial information, so it won’t be the same level of disappointment if this does not happen before the break is over. But come on, the clock’s ticking, buddy. Get the lease signed before you worry about trying to get the Eagles to add an OPACY date to their farewell tour.
Around the blogO’sphere
Taking stock of the Orioles first half performance (Orioles.com)
I enjoy when even an MLB-affiliated beat writer can sneak in a little snark by noting that the Orioles trade deadline strategy will be “Buy - for real this time”
Here’s who’s been helped (or hurt) by the shift limits so far (MLB.com)
The shift ban has turned into good news for Anthony Santander, Adley Rutschman, and Ryan O’Hearn. It was expected for O’Hearn. The others are a bit more of a surprise. On the other end, Adam Frazier.
Keith Law breaks down every AL team’s draft class (The Athletic)
The Orioles are in first place alphabetically, as they have been every year since 1954. It’s strange seeing a prospect writer who’s expressing confidence in the O’s ability to develop prospects. I’m not used to it yet.
30 years later, Mark Pallack thinks he could still catch Ken Griffey Jr.’s warehouse homer (The Baltimore Banner)
This is a nice reminder of how little there is going on in the baseball world in the couple of days after the All-Star Game but before the second half of the season resumes.
A challenge for starting pitchers MLB-wide: The 100-pitch barrier (Steve Melewski)
Not only are pitchers rarely going over 100 pitches, they’re not even all that commonly going over 90. O’s starters are pretty close though, as Melewski notes, at 88.9 pitches per game started so far.
Highland alum Zane Barnhart drafted in 17th round by Orioles (The Medina Gazette)
“Local kid drafted” articles in small papers are one of my low-key favorite things about the draft. Best of luck to Barnhart in the next steps in his journey.
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 1991, the Orioles collected a combined no-hitter in a game against the Athletics. Bob Milacki, Mike Flanagan, Mark Williamson, and Gregg Olson were the four pitchers involved. This was just the second four-pitcher combined no-no in MLB history.
There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2000 pitcher Pat Rapp, 1984 nine-game pitcher Mark Brown (no known relation), and 1955-56 pitcher Fritz Dorish.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: baseball Hall of Famer Stan Coveleski (1889), actor Harrison Ford (1942), and probable future Baseball Hall of Famer Yadier Molina (1982).
On this day in history...
In 1643, during the English Civil War, the Royalists and Parliamentarians waged the Battle of Roundway Down, in which a cavalry force led by the Earl of Rochester defeated the Parliamentarians despite being outnumbered more than 2-to-1, keeping the Royalists in control of the west of the country for the rest of the war.
In 1787, the Northwest Ordinance was enacted by the governing Congress of the Confederation, which set rules for allowing new states from the area of what’s now Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin, and limited the spread of slavery into these eventual states.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 13. Have a safe Thursday.