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Thursday Bird Droppings: Hoping for a quick end to the sudden Orioles swoon

The Astros being a tough opponent doesn’t make the last couple of losses any easier to take

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Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles
The Astros look like a much better team than the Orioles through two games of this three-game series.
Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

It is, of course, absurd to believe in such things as curses in baseball. We all know better than that. Yet even knowing this, the mind cannot help but consider it and even at times latch onto it as a possible explanation for negative outcomes.

That the Orioles have lost the two games they have played since the news broke that broadcaster Kevin Brown was pulled from the air (they insist it’s not a suspension) for drawing upon an on-screen MASN graphic to note that the 2023 Orioles are doing much, much better than the 2020-2022 Orioles did, could not possibly be connected to that not-suspension.

No power is out there that could put a thumb on the scale to ensure this outcome. Kyle Tucker hitting that grand slam on Tuesday happened for other reasons. So did Wednesday’s combined Shintaro Fujinami/Mike Baumann disaster. The Orioles were already losing before that anyway, because of another Tucker homer off of trade deadline acquisition Jack Flaherty.

It is a talent on the roster thing. Their guys are overall probably better than our guys, though their record is not overall better than ours, so far. This was the choice made by the general manager: To let things play out with these guys with relatively small and relatively inexpensive additions, rather than ship out higher-regarded prospects for players who won’t be here beyond 2023. Perhaps it was the choice of the owner, to not approve additions that come with higher salaries. There is no reason to give him the benefit of the doubt about anything right now.

There have been six times so far this season where the Orioles lost the first two games of a series and then won the third in order to avoid a sweep and keep their streak rolling. It is a streak that is now longer than any such streak has been since the end of World War II. The Orioles will need to do this a seventh time today if they are going to push on for records that have endured since even older days.

As the wise Earl Weaver is known to have said, momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher. For the Orioles today, that’s Dean Kremer, which, based on his 2023 results overall, is not much positive momentum. A 4.61 ERA does not cut it in the present day baseball environment. Kremer’s had his share of good games mixed in with the disappointing ones though, especially once the calendar moved past April, his worst month.

Rookie Hunter Brown takes the mound for the Astros in the 12:35 finale. The right-handed Hunter has a 4.07 ERA with 130 strikeouts in 117.1 innings this season. He’s coming off a game where he gave up five runs in three innings against the Mariners.

Believers in a Kevin Brown-connected curse may not feel great about another member of Team Brown pitching for the other team as the O’s try to avoid a sweep. This third member of Team Brown will be recapping the game for Camden Chat.

What does it all mean? Absolutely nothing. The players on the field will determine what happens, and we will find ourselves again feeling that pull to assign meaning to outcomes that result from weighted random chance. I hope the Orioles win and flush away the gathering negativity from all of us, at least for a little while.

Around the blogO’sphere

Why the Orioles haven’t signed a new lease to stay at Camden Yards (The Athletic)
The short version of this Ken Rosenthal article seems to be that John Angelos has plans of redeveloping the parking lot space at Camden Yards that may be cockamamie plans. Sign the lease, shut up, and go away, John.

The Orioles have big dreams and a small man in charge (Defector)
“It now feels as though there are two Baltimore Orioles splitting off onto opposite tracks. There’s the Orioles that are by the players and for the fans. And then there’s the Orioles that are by John Angelos, for John Angelos ... Angelos’s vision of the Orioles will always have the power to kill the other.”

Jacob Webb talks about joining the Orioles bullpen (Steve Melewski)
The newest Orioles reliever arrived by waiver claim, with Joey Krehbiel being sent to Triple-A Norfolk to make room for Webb on the roster. Webb made a nice first impression with his scoreless inning last night.

How Ryan Mountcastle became the Orioles’ hottest hitter since his return from vertigo (The Baltimore Banner)
The dedicated cadre of Mountcastle haters did not want to recognize the extent to which his illness and vertigo was probably impacting his performance. If he wants to keep proving them wrong for the rest of the season, that would be great.

Jim Palmer has COVID, leading to another MASN shake-up (The Baltimore Sun)
I’ll be honest, when I tuned in to the Orioles game last night to find different broadcasters than Tuesday, I assumed there were John Angelos-related shenanigans over some perceived slight about the “Free Kevin Brown!” chants. But Palmer tweeted that he’s got COVID and isn’t feeling too good, so that was the real reason for the mid-series booth shift change. Get well soon, Jim.

Cedric Mullins could rejoin Orioles during Seattle series (
It will be good to have Mullins back, although I hope he’s not being rushed back as it now seems may have happened the last time around. Plays like this from Bowie last night certainly make him look ready:

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 2018, the Orioles were mathematically eliminated from division contention following a 19-12 loss to the Red Sox. Yes, that says 19-12. Being eliminated with 46 games still to play set a new record in the era of divisional play for earliest elimination. The 2023 Orioles have a magic number for the AL East of 46 after last night’s action.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2013 three-gamer Dan Johnson, 2005 catcher Sal Fasano, and 1954 pitcher Bob Chakales.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Nestlé founder Henri Nestlé (1814), 31st president Herbert Hoover (1874), Monopoly creator Charles Darrow (1889), actor Antonio Banderas (1960), and famous famous person Kylie Jenner (1997).

On this day in history...

In 1792, one of the significant events of the French Revolution took place as a mob stormed the Tuileries Palace in Paris, where King Louis XVI and his family resided. The king was taken into custody by this mob.

In 1944, the Battle of Guam ended after two weeks and six days with Americans capturing the island from the Japanese. Over the course of the battle, about 1,800 Americans were killed and another 6,000 were wounded. More than 18,000 Japanese soldiers were killed, nearly 90% of the defenders on the island.

In 1977, the “Son of Sam” killer was arrested.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 10. Have a safe Thursday. Go O’s!