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Wednesday Bird Droppings: An exciting call-up amidst a rough stretch for the Orioles

The O’s fell again to the Yankees, their sixth loss in seven games, whittling their wild card lead to two games. But in happier news, Colton Cowser has arrived.

Baltimore Orioles v New York Yankees
Kyle Gibson sums up how we’re all feeling.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.

The bad news is that the Orioles’ recent stretch of terrible play continued yesterday with their sixth loss in seven games, another disappointing defeat to the Yankees that Mark Brown recapped in all of its (non)glory. For a fleeting moment, it looked like the O’s might have finally rediscovered their much-needed spark, rallying for three runs on a pair of fifth-inning homers to tie the game. Yet it was mere minutes later that the Orioles fell behind again on an inexplicably lackadaisical play by the normally reliable Cedric Mullins, allowing a runner to score from first on a single.

The Orioles’ offense continues to struggle, tallying four runs yesterday, the last of which came when the O’s were already out of the game. The soft underbelly of the Orioles’ bullpen continues to be exposed, with a collection of unreliable middle relievers turning close games into routs. And the starting rotation certainly isn’t strong enough to make up for the team’s faults elsewhere. The All-Star break might be coming at a good time, because these guys seem flat-out tired. I know some Orioles fans are flat-out tired of watching them recently.

Now for the good news: as MASN’s Roch Kubatko first reported last night, outfield prospect Colton Cowser is on his way to the Orioles today, and presumably will be in the lineup at Yankee Stadium tonight to make his much-anticipated major league debut. Cowser has torn up Triple-A all season (minus an ill-timed IL stint with a quad injury) to the tune of a .330/.459/.537 line, 10 home runs, and 40 RBIs.

Let me just repeat that OBP: .459. The man has reached base in a little under half of his plate appearances this season, over a fairly sizable 56-game sample. That’s absolutely sensational, and if that on-base ability even remotely translates to the majors, Cowser can be a legitimate force for an Orioles lineup that badly needs help right now.

Such is the good fortune of the Orioles having the #1 farm system in baseball. Even when the O’s performance hits the skids, they’ve got a steady supply of exciting young prospects to bring to the majors to rejuvenate fans’ excitement — and hopefully give the team a jolt of energy, too. I can’t wait to see Cowser in action.


Orioles place Pérez on injured list with forearm soreness, activate McCann; Zimmermann recalled, Vallimont optioned -
The O’s did some more roster shuffling yesterday, and good news, they’re once again carrying three catchers for no particular reason. That could change when Cowser arrives, though.

Orioles turned away again after rallying to tie (updated) - School of Roch
Seriously, what is Yankee fans’ deal with Aaron Hicks? He was a good player for them for a while, then he was kind of lousy for a couple of years, and he got released. Big deal. It happens. Yet Yankee fans have been booing him so mercilessly that you’d think he was eating babies.

Does having the No. 1 farm impact O’s draft strategy? - Steve Melewski
Short answer: no, of course not. You pick the best player available, period.

Orioles minor league report: After demotion, infield prospect Joey Ortiz is back to tearing up Triple-A
Joey Ortiz has the best offensive stats at Triple-A of any player in the Mike Elias era. Remind me again why the Orioles never gave him any playing time when he was in the majors?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And happy 28th birthday to newly minted All-Star Austin Hays! Hays earned the honors with a breakout season in which he led the AL in batting average for a while, and hopefully the hip contusion he suffered Sunday against the Twins won’t interfere. I would say he’s the best active player in the majors with a July 5 birthday, except that it’s also Shohei Ohtani’s birthday. Alas.

Five former Orioles were born on this day: right-handers Jay Spurgeon (47) and Tim Worrell (56); left-hander Alberto Castillo (48); the late righty Arnie Portocarrero (b. 1931, d. 1986); and the late outfielder Curt Blefary (b. 1943, d. 2001), who was the 1965 AL Rookie of the Year for the O’s.

On this date in 1969, O’s starter Dave McNally improved to 13-0 by beating the Tigers, 9-3. Paul Blair had a nice 3-for-4 game, but was also the victim of an extremely rare play, an unassisted pickoff at third base by the catcher. Blair, distracted by Frank Robinson accidentally throwing his bat after a pitch, lingered in the baseline too long and catcher Bill Freehan ran him down for the out.

Random Orioles game of the day

On July 5, 1986, the Orioles lost to the Twins at the Metrodome, 7-6. Starter Mike Flanagan was tagged for five runs in the first inning, including a Gary Gaetti grand slam, as the Twins stormed out to a 6-0 lead. Despite a furious late O’s rally — in which they put the potential tying run at third base in the ninth — the early deficit was too much to overcome against lefty Frank Viola, who went the distance for Minnesota, giving up six runs and 11 hits. Cal Ripken Jr. and Fred Lynn both homered in the losing effort. Credit to Flanagan, though, who ended up throwing a complete game of his own despite the early struggles.