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Monday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles have a two game division lead (no, really)

For the first time in more than six years, the Orioles tamed the Trop, and it feels pretty good

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays
Ryan O’Hearn did it again.
Nathan Ray Seebeck-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

The Orioles! Our favorite baseball team has done the nearly-unthinkable yet again, emerging from the four-game series on the road against the Rays with three wins. This gives the O’s a two-game lead over the closest competition in the AL East. It certainly seems like the division crown will be coming along with a first-round playoff bye, so the stakes are even higher.

By winning the weekend series outright, the Orioles are now 6-3 against the Rays this season. This could prove to be significant if the teams stay close towards season’s end, because it means that unless the Rays sweep the O’s in the four games to be played in Baltimore in mid-September, the Orioles are going to have the head-to-head tiebreaker advantage. For a variety of reasons, we cannot do any counting of chickens before the eggs hatch, but you’d much rather be in the O’s position right now than the Rays, and that’s fun.

As for Sunday afternoon’s 5-3 win in the series finale, Gunnar Henderson delivered a titanic dinger, Ryan O’Hearn delivered a pole-hitting opposite field shot to put the O’s back on top after Tyler Wells fell apart, Mike Baumann of all people pitched 2.2 scoreless innings, and the All-Star duo of Yennier Cano and Félix Bautista closed out a combined three-hitter. This was a good win that could have easily ended up being a bad loss. Check out Stacey’s recap of the game for the lovely totals.

With 99 games and 61% of the season under their belts, the Orioles sit at 61-38, 23 games over .500 for the first time since 2014. They are on pace to win 100 games. 100! I continue to feel that they will end up under their pace, but they have played themselves to where they can weather a rough patch and still be in a good place. Taking three of four against the Rays, who still own the AL’s best team ERA, goes a long way.

As has been the case for pretty much the whole season, there is no relaxation coming for the Orioles. They head from Florida up to Philadelphia for a three-game set starting tonight against the Phillies. The Phillies were victorious yesterday to pull themselves within a half-game of the last NL wild card spot. As they sit 11.5 games behind division-leading Atlanta, that’s all they can aim for this season.

In tonight’s series opener, Dean Kremer pitches for the Orioles, with lefty Cristopher Sánchez on the mound for Philadelphia. Despite a 3.06 ERA and 1.05 WHIP in seven starts, Sánchez has an 0-3 record. Kremer is not someone with that kind of problem, as he’s got a 10-4 record despite a 4.80 ERA. Let’s hope that continues.

Around the blogO’sphere

Shintaro Fujinami has ‘electric stuff,’ Rays hitters say. But will he throw enough strikes to bolster the Orioles’ bullpen? (The Baltimore Sun)
This was the question about the new Orioles reliever the moment they traded for him, and it’s still the question about him now that he’s pitched twice for the team.

Orioles sign McFarland to minor league deal (
T.J. McFarland is still pitching! He pitched a few games for the Mets this year, even, before they DFA’d him. I don’t think it speaks very highly of the remaining relief depth at Norfolk that the O’s are adding McFarland into that mix.

The trade deadline is now eight days away. Here is a rumor to think about:

This is a classic of the genre since it relies on what rival executives, who may or may not know what they are talking about at all, and may or may not be telling the truth if they do know something, are saying. As a bonus, it basically tells you what you probably already suspected. It tells us absolutely nothing about whether the Orioles might be able to accomplish anything that matters with this strategy.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2018, the Orioles traded Zack Britton to the Yankees for Dillon Tate, Josh Rogers, and Cody Carroll. The number of pitches thrown by these players for the 2023 O’s is zero.

There are a pair of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2012 six-game pitcher Miguel Socolovich, and 1954-55 pitcher Duane Pillette.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: South American independence leader Simón Bolívar (1783), pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart (1897), actress Lynda Carter (1951), and singer/actress Jennifer Lopez (1969).

On this day in history...

In 1847, the Mormon pioneers led by Brigham Young reached their ultimate destination and stopped, founding Salt Lake City.

In 1911, Machu Picchu, the then-”Lost City of the Incas”, was discovered anew by explorer Hiram Bingham III.

In 1983, George Brett hit a game-winning home run against the Yankees that was taken away in what’s gone into the baseball annals as the Pine Tar Incident.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on July 24. Have a safe Monday. Go O’s!