There continues to be almost no such thing as an easy win for the 2023 Orioles, which has not stopped them from having a better winning percentage than any other American League team. Yesterday was one more example, as the team was on the verge of cruising behind what would have easily been the best outing of Grayson Rodriguez’s young MLB career and an impressive shelling by the offense of Rays Cy Young contender Shane McClanahan.
The thing about being on the verge of something happening is that sometimes it never does. The Orioles did not cruise. Rodriguez came an out shy of finishing six innings for the first time, but the pesky Rays chased him, got a couple of runs on the board, then did damage against Danny Coulombe, Yennier Cano, and the new guy Shintaro Fujinami, and a 5-0 lead melted into a 5-5 tie. Pinch hitters Adam Frazier and Ryan O’Hearn brought in a sixth run and Félix Bautista closed the door, again. It got crazy, but a win is still a win.
Saturday afternoon’s win put the Orioles back in undisputed possession of first place in the AL East. They were tied in the games back column but ahead by percentage points after Friday’s loss. With more than 60% of the season played, the O’s are on pace to win 99 games. They hold a bye past the wild card round presently and will leave the Trop with the head-to-head tiebreaker edge over the Rays. They’re up on the Jays by 6.5 games and 8.5 on the Yankees.
MLB WHIP leader Tyler Wells will try to bounce back from a clunker against the Dodgers in today’s 1:40 finale. The Orioles will be squaring off against Rays righty Taj Bradley, who’s sporting a 5.29 ERA through 14 starts of his rookie season. Don’t discount Bradley, though, as he’s struck out 89 batters in 66.1 innings and has a FIP that’s 1.36 below his ERA. Bradley’s been worse at home than on the road, so hopefully Orioles batters can do something with all of that.
There are nine days remaining until the trade deadline. What are you expecting to see happen between now and when it has passed?
Around the blogO’sphere
See target, hit target: An adjustment that could help Grayson Rodriguez (Steve Melewski)
The latest attempted small adjustment is to have Rodriguez look at the catcher for longer during his delivery. Having a “head whack” (not looking at the catcher) was noted even as a top prospect so there might be something to fixing that, if it stays fixed.
An Orioles’ Baker and a beer maker (Orioles.com)
I try not to be snarky about things with charitable aims, so I’ll just note that Bryan Baker’s beer collaboration, which has some proceeds going to a non-profit meant to keep the Baltimore area’s streams and other waterways clear of trash, has noble goals.
There were quite a few Orioles fans in Tropicana Field yesterday.
There's no quit in this team. pic.twitter.com/5irPu8m0Sl— Baltimore Orioles (@Orioles) July 22, 2023
Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries
Today in 2013, the Orioles traded Nick Delmonico to the Brewers for Francisco Rodriguez. They didn’t regret losing Delmonico in the long run, but Rodriguez, after having had a 1.09 ERA with Milwaukee, finished the season with a 4.50 ERA here.
Of all the players who have ever played for the Orioles, not a single one has a July 23 birthday.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: baseball Hall of Famers Pee Wee Reese (1918) and Don Drysdale (1936), actor Woody Harrelson (1961), guitarist Slash (1965), and actor Daniel Radcliffe (1989).
On this day in history...
In 1914, in the aftermath of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the Empire of Austria-Hungary presented an ultimatum to Serbia with a number of demands that ostensibly were meant to allow the Austro-Hungarians to investigate the assassination. Serbia accepted all but one demand, after which the Austrians declared war five days later.
In 1962, Jackie Robinson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.
And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 23. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!