Good morning, Birdland!
Last night was pretty lame. Kyle Gibson was getting hit hard from the jump, and Luis Castillo was predictably terrific. In hindsight, it was an expected outcome for that pitching matchup. Unfortunately, it doesn’t get much better tonight with Cole Irvin (1-3, 5.44 ERA) facing George Kirby (10-8, 3.32 ERA), although the O’s southpaw has been much better since his awful April, so the numbers aren’t entirely fair.
The big positive was that Cedric Mullins returned. He didn’t get any hits, but he did make a Gold Glove-worthy catch on the very first ball put in play. The boost he provides on defense cannot be overstated.
Related to that Mullins return is that Colton Cowser stuck with the Orioles while Ryan McKenna was sent to Norfolk as the corresponding move. Cowser has had a tough time of it with the O’s. He’s OPS’ing .434 on the season, and it’s only that high because he continues to walk a bunch. McKenna, on the other hand, is a relatively established role player that has good foot speed and a history of steady defense at all three outfield spots.
Clearly, this is a decision made with more than the present moment in mind. Cowser’s ceiling is far higher than McKenna’s every was or will be. The Orioles seem to be betting on something clicking for the rookie, and maybe there is evidence to suggest as much.
Cowser’s got a .729 OPS in the month of August after walking twice on Friday night. Although you would like to see that number include much more power (.300 slugging percentage in August) it is compelling on its own. It’s also worth noting that Cowser may just be a guy that needs a longer adjustment period than some. He wasn’t great for Triple-A Norfolk in his first go-around there in 2022 (.219/.339/.419, 30.6% strikeout rate). But he returned in 2023, and was so much better (.330/.459/.537) that he forced his way to Baltimore.
It’s also possible that this means very little and he could be back in Norfolk soon for some fine-tuning. Aaron Hicks is expected to return to the majors sometime soon, and there aren’t many other obvious roster moves to make room for him. And as much faith as the Orioles have shown their youngsters, they have also sent them back to the minors (Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall, Joey Ortiz) if they think it makes sense.
With the O’s set to face two more righties (Kirby and Bryce Miller) this weekend in Seattle you would expect Cowser to get two more starts. Hopefully he can make the most of it!
Orioles rookie Colton Cowser hoping to ‘stop thinking so damn much’ as roster crunch looms | The Baltimore Sun
The mention of Cowser’s personality by Gunnar Henderson also feels relevant in some sort of ancillary way. It sounds like the suede tracksuits that the pair donned alongside Ryan Mountcastle and Adley Rutschman last week was Cowser’s idea. If you watch the Orioles Instagram stories the rookie is often a character in them. Obviously, you need to perform to be a big leaguer, but being a Fun Guy doesn’t hurt. The Orioles, as assembled, are very good. Sometimes it’s the intangible things that push a team even higher.
Orioles announcer Kevin Brown addresses suspension ahead of return to broadcast booth | Yahoo! Sports
I’m sure the words that Brown shared on Twitter will make those in the owner’s box feel warm and fuzzy. Of course he’s going to try and be gracious and affectionate, and I’m sure he does genuinely appreciate many things about the Orioles and fan base. But come on. It’s all PR speak. And what is the announcer supposed to do in this situation? He was put in an awful situation by his bosses, who have thrown him out to take it all by himself.
More leftovers for breakfast | Roch Kubatko
Comments are STILL turned off on the various MASN blogs. But anyway, here is an update on Tyler Wells and the team’s rotation.
Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!
- Chris Owings turns 32. The infielder spent part of the 2022 season with the Orioles as the team attempted to sort out its second base situation.
- Jhan Mariñez is 35 today. The righty appeared in eight games out of the Orioles bullpen in 2018.
- Lew Ford turns 47 today, which seems impossible because that’s also how old he was in 2012, when he appeared in 25 games for the Orioles after not playing in a big league game for the previous four seasons.
- Bobby Bonner is 67. the shortstop’s entire MLB career was with the O’s from 1980 through 1983, when he played various infield spots.
This day in O’s history
2015 - The Orioles are no-hit by Mariners hurler Hisashi Iwakuma. Iwakuma becomes the second Japanese pitcher to throw a no-hitter MLB history. Hideo Nomo, who threw two, was the first.
2019 - Gleyber Torres continues to assault the Orioles. He hits three home runs in a Yankees doubleheader sweep of the Birds. That gives him 13 against them on the season, the most by any player against one team in a season since the start of the divisional era. He also has give multi-homer gamer against the O’s, a big league record.