Good morning, Camden Chatters.
I’d say the Orioles’ second half has gotten off to a pretty good start, wouldn’t you? The O’s have come roaring out of the gate after the All-Star break with a three-game sweep of the Marlins, who entered the series as the second-best team in the National League. All three victories were close games, including yesterday’s (unexpectedly enough), which was shaping up to an easy, blowout win before Miami made things uncomfortably tense in the ninth. In the end, the Birds shut the door and busted out the brooms. John Beers recapped the victorious finale.
Let’s break down where the Orioles stand right now, because it’s glorious. They’ve won eight in a row, including two straight sweeps. They’re a season-best 22 games above .500, a mark they hadn’t reached since 2014, when they finished the season 30 games over. They again have the third-best record in baseball, and with the Rays losing in Kansas City yesterday, the Birds are just one game back of first place in the AL East. (They actually have one fewer loss than Tampa Bay, but also three fewer wins.) If only the O’s were in the AL Central, they would have a 10 (ten!) game division lead.
With their .620 winning percentage, the Orioles are on pace to win 100 games. Even FanGraphs gives the Orioles an 83.7% chance to make the playoffs. The emotionless algorithms agree with the rabid fans: the O’s are in a pretty good spot right now.
Nothing is guaranteed, of course. With 70 games remaining on the schedule, and every team in the AL East currently at least six games over .500, the O’s will be under constant pressure to keep up their winning ways. The Birds’ next 17 games are against teams who — like the Marlins — currently have winning records, including seven in a row starting tonight against the first-place Dodgers and Rays.
It won’t be easy. It never is. But the 2023 Orioles have risen to every challenge so far.
Kyle Bradish pitches 7 1/3 scoreless innings, Orioles win 8th straight - MLB.com
Danny Coulombe talked about his strategy for facing Luis Arraez with the game on the line, which boiled down to “throw it right down the middle and see what he’s going to do with it.” It’s a bold strategy, Cotton, and it paid off for him.
Orioles to recall Rodriguez for Monday’s start; Mullins day-to-day with quad tightness, Hicks scratched with lower back soreness - BaltimoreBaseball.com
The O’s aren’t exactly giving Grayson a soft return to the majors, instead throwing him right into the fire against the mighty Dodgers tonight. Gotta happen sometime. Time to show what you can do, kid.
The American League East Has Done Something That No Other Division Ever Has - Fastball
Ugh, it’s annoying that every team in the division is good. It makes it harder for us to enjoy the fact that the Yankees and Red Sox are tied for last place. (I mean, I still enjoy it very much. But it’s harder.)
Health care company books entire Camden Yards upper deck for Sunday’s Orioles game, setting record for largest group - Baltimore Sun
Autumn Lake health care accounted for more than a third of yesterday’s crowd, buying out the entire upper deck. And here I thought 30,000 people just wanted to come see the Marlins.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Until this season, nobody with a July 17 birthday had ever played for the Orioles, but now we can thank Josh Lester for breaking that drought. The journeyman infielder, who turns 29 today, played 11 games for the Birds earlier this year and is currently back at Triple-A Norfolk.
On this day in 1991, O’s designated hitter Sam Horn committed the dubious feat that is now named after him, striking out six straight times in a game. He became the only non-pitcher ever to do so.
In 1992, Mike Mussina pitched one of the most phenomenal games of his career, a one-hit shutout of the Rangers in Texas. Mussina allowed both of his baserunners (a walk and a double) in the fifth inning while his other eight innings were perfect.
In 1998, Rafael Palmeiro hit his 300th career home run, a two-run shot off the Angels’ Greg Cadaret in a 4-1 O’s win in Anaheim.
And one year ago today, the Orioles selected shortstop Jackson Holliday out of Stillwater HS in Oklahoma with the first overall pick in the 2022 draft. Early returns are...promising.
Random Orioles game of the day
On July 17, 1982, the Orioles defeated the Mariners, 8-4, at Memorial Stadium. The O’s offense did all its damage with a pair of four-run rallies in the second and fourth innings. Ken Singleton delivered a two-run double in the former inning and a two-run single in the latter. Orioles starter Mike Flanagan didn’t have it, lasting just three innings and giving up three runs and seven hits, but Storm Davis delivered an excellent long relief performance with four scoreless. The win improved the O’s to 46-39, five games behind the AL East-leading Brewers.