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Friday Bird Droppings: Late nights in our future as Orioles start a west coast swing

Seattle, then San Diego, then Oakland. Only one of these is a contender, but the Orioles can’t sleep on any.

Houston Astros v Baltimore Orioles
Adley Rutschman drinks from the homer hose after his leadoff home run yesterday.
Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

Are you feeling better about the Orioles than you were this time a couple of days ago? Things got gloomy pretty quickly there with the news of Kevin Brown’s “double secret probation” by MASN for doing nothing wrong, plus Tuesday’s game getting blown, with some other John Angelos-related shenanigans coming out regarding the lease negotiations, that was a lot. It wasn’t fun.

One good thing going for today is that the Orioles won yesterday! Check out my recap of the game for the lovely totals. There was a whole lot going on there, and it almost went entirely sideways, but it didn’t. The Orioles did the thing. They are 71-44. They now hold a three game lead over the Rays after the Rays lost last night, which would give them a bye through the wild card round. They are 5.5 games ahead of falling where they’d fall below the WC1 spot, where they’d at least host the best-of-three round.

These are obviously not unshakeable leads with 47 games still to be played. A lot of baseball has been played, and that’s gone great for the Orioles up until now. They’re on pace to win 100 games!

The O’s have accumulated this record while being forged in some tough fires. No team has more wins against above-.500 teams than the O’s: 47. No other team even has as many as 40. There have been some disappointing series, including ones against top-flight contenders like the just-finished Astros series, and earlier against Atlanta.

You could look at those lost series and think, “The O’s will have no chance in the playoffs against good teams!” But both this week’s Astros series and May’s games against the Braves could have almost as easily tipped in the O’s favor. They have a big advantage in their head-to-head record against the Rays and the Blue Jays, their two top division contenders right now. Things have gone well.

A three-city west coast swing is going to be the next thing to challenge the Orioles and see how they can hold up. They head to the strongest contender first, with in-the-mix Seattle hosting three games starting tonight, with stops at the underachieving Padres and the disastrous Athletics. There can be no overlooking any of these games. They just need to keep piling up the wins, somehow, some way.

According to reports, Kevin Brown will be back on MASN tonight. Let’s hope that none of Angelos or his flunkies get involved in changing that plan. Possibly also back tonight: Cedric Mullins, who is said to be rejoining the team this weekend with the team apparently satisfied with his rehab assignment. And on the topic of rehab, John Means started his last night, also with Bowie, striking out two batters over two scoreless innings. If Means can bolster the rotation in September, that will be fun.

Around the blogO’sphere

John Angelos sought development rights to state-owned parking lots as Orioles negotiate new Camden Yards lease (The Baltimore Sun)
With apologies for another day of leading with the failson in the top chair of the franchise right now, here we are. No harm in asking, but if he’s held up the lease negotiations for any length of time over this exact fantasy of getting control of lots A, B, and C that’s never happening, he deserves further criticism from every quarter until the lease is settled.

Coulombe goes on injured list (School of Roch)
As is often the case, the Orioles are initially saying they hope it will be a minimum length (15 days) IL stay. Coulombe has left bicep tendonitis. Since he’s been the most reliable lefty reliever, that presents a challenge for the team for as long as he’s gone.

Orioles look to be heading for six man rotation (Baltimore Baseball)
Among the pre-game tidbits yesterday, manager Brandon Hyde said that starting pitcher Kyle Bradish is being pushed back a day, with Cole Irvin starting on Saturday instead. It seems possible that the O’s will stick with Irvin in the rotation for a little bit, making it a six man unit. With as many of the rotation members nearing or past their past innings highs, the sense of this is apparent.

Hall of Famer Jim Palmer on ‘special effort’ needed from Orioles pitchers (The Adam Jones Podcast)
Who doesn’t want to hear an extended conversation between Palmer and Jones? Jerry Coleman is also there.

Orioles Top 30 Prospects - Post-Draft/Trade Deadline Update (MLB Pipeline)
This is a good one for all the Samuel Basallo fans out there. And the Chayce McDermott fans, the Creed Willems fans, and the Alex Pham fans. Among others. What do you think about this new list? Is anyone too low for you? Anyone too high?

A fan at Camden Yards caught a foul ball in his BBQ sauce yesterday:

I always imagine trying to make a slick play on a foul ball if one ever came near me, but I know well enough to know that the reality if one ever did come near me is I’d either duck out of the way or do something to make myself look stupid.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1991, the Orioles were on the wrong end of a no-hitter pitched by Wilson Alvarez of the White Sox. This was Alvarez’s second ever MLB game.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2018 outfielder Colby Rasmus, 2006-07 pitcher Kurt Birkins, and 1990 pitcher John Mitchell. Today is Mitchell’s 58th birthday, so an extra happy birthday to him.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: actor Ian McDiarmid (1944), Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak (1950), wrestler Hulk Hogan (1953), actress Viola Davis (1965), and actor Chris Hemsworth (1983).

On this day in history...

In 3114 BC, the Long Count Calendar used by the Mayan civilization began.

In 1929 AD, Babe Ruth hit the 500th home run of his career. He became the first player to join the 500 club. There are 28 members today. The closest active player to joining is former Oriole Nelson Cruz at 464, but with just 15 homers in the last two seasons and age catching up to him in his 40s, it seems unlikely. No other active player is in the 400-499 range.

In 1972, the last remaining American ground combat unit departed from South Vietnam.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 11. Have a safe Friday. Go O’s!

Looking for some more Orioles stuff to fill part of your day to get you through to the late start? Check out today’s episode of my O’s podcast, Good Morning, Birdland, with my reaction to the just-finished Astros series, the updated Orioles prospect list, and a little look ahead to the Mariners.