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Friday Bird Droppings: The “second half” begins

A tough run up to the trade deadline awaits the contending Birds.

MLB: Seattle Mariners at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Birdland!

The All-Star break is over, and the Orioles now face a crucial stretch of their season. They face nothing but playoff contenders for the rest of the month, taking them right up to the all important trade deadline.

That includes a massive four-game set in Tampa from July 20-23. If the two-game gap between the teams maintains until then, that series will put whomever wins it in the AL East driver’s seat.

But for now the focus will be on the incoming Miami Marlins, who are the Orioles’ NL counterpart. They have the second-best record in their league, but it’s behind the East division leaders. And their actual record (53-39) is quite a bit better than their expected record (45-47). East coast bias strikes again!

This time between the All-Star break and the trade deadline is always a bit odd. It’s only about two weeks, and most teams have already determined whether they will buy or sell by August 1.

The Orioles, one would imagine, are primed to add to their talented roster. But how serious they are could be influenced by a strong finish to July. If they navigate their way to the top of the AL East and, therefore, the best record in the American League, it seems impossible for Mike Elias to ignore the needs atop the rotation or in the bullpen.


Orioles’ 2024 schedule features first opening day in Baltimore since 2018 | The Baltimore Sun
Opening Day in Baltimore is a big deal every year, but it should be really fun in 2024 with the O’s coming off such a fun season and (hopefully) making a few big moves in the winter.

More on the 100-pitch barrier and pitchers talk about breaking through it | Steve Melewski
I would imagine that the number “100” is somewhat arbitrary on the whole. But it does just happen to line up well with the point in a game where a pitcher is tiring or becoming overly familiar to the opposing batters.

Baltimore Orioles, Maryland Governor Commit to Revitalizing Camden Yards Campus |
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Let’s see the agreement all signed and sealed. It should be taken as a positive sign that the statement was released together, indicating the two sides are on the same page. But man, it is frustrating that this (just like everything else the Orioles do) is being dragged out as long as possible.

As playoff push begins, Orioles’ baseball future looks bright despite off-field uncertainties | The Baltimore Sun
Included in here is a mention of the Orioles’ modest attendance numbers this year despite winning so many games. I don’t think anyone should be too surprised by that. Fans financial decisions tend to lag behind the team’s performance just a tad. After so many years of losing these guys really need to prove themselves locally. So far, they are doing just that. And it should pay off in a few sellouts the rest of the way.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday! A whole bunch of O’s share your day:

  • Joey Ortiz turns 25. The rookie infielder has been a frequent rider of the Norfolk shuttle this season, and he has appeared in 15 games for the big league squad.
  • Isaac Mattson is 28 today. One piece of the return package the Orioles received from the Angels for Dylan Bundy in 2019, Mattson pitched in four games for the 2021 O’s. He’s currently in the Twins organization.
  • Andrew Velazquez is 29 today. The journeyman infielder has played for five different big league teams in the last six seasons, including a 2020 campaign spent with the Orioles.
  • Bernie Castro turns 44. He played second base and left field for the 2005 O’s.
  • Derrick May is 55 years old. He wrapped up his decade in major league baseball with an abbreviated stay as an O’s outfielder in 1999.
  • Victor Rodríguez celebrates his 62nd birthday. His lone season in Baltimore was his 1984 rookie campaign.
  • Billy Smith is 70 today. From 1977 through ‘79 Smith played all over the Orioles infield, although he was most often deployed at second base.
  • The late Earl Williams (b. 1948, d. 2013) was born on this day. He spent time behind the plate and at first base for the Orioles in 1973 and ‘74.
  • Steve Stone turns 76. The righty had a tremendous three-year run in Baltimore from 1979 through ‘81. That included a 1980 season in which he went to the All-Star game, won AL Cy Young, and finished ninth in MVP voting.

This day in O’s history

1964 - O’s infielder Bob Johnson records his sixth straight hit as a pinch hitter, setting an American League record.

2012 - Taylor Teagarden makes his Orioles debut and does so in tremendous fashion. He enters in the 10th inning and goes on to hit a walk-off two-run homer in the 13th inning to send the Orioles home 8-6 winners over the visiting Tigers.