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Friday Bird Droppings: The Orioles look for a soft landing to the west coast trip

The Birds’ three-city tour out west concludes against MLB-worst Oakland this weekend. It would behoove the O’s to do what good teams are supposed to do to bad teams.

Baltimore Orioles v San Diego Padres
Does this camera angle make it look like Adley Rutschman has three legs?
Photo by Orlando Ramirez/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if you live on the east coast and you’re planning to watch the Orioles this weekend, you have a few more late nights in your immediate future. The O’s are still on the west coast, wrapping up their nine-game, three-city trip with a visit to Oakland this weekend. Tonight’s game begins at 9:40 ET and tomorrow’s at 9:07 before the 4:07 finale on Sunday.

West coast trips are rough, and the annoying thing is that this isn’t even the last one. The O’s will be heading back west just two weeks from now! They’ll start September with a swing through Arizona (which is technically in the Mountain Time Zone, but whatever) followed by Anaheim, with five night games among the six. I suppose that’s the one drawback of the newly balanced schedule — with the O’s now playing against every team in both the AL West and NL West every season, they’re playing more games on the left coast than ever before. Oh well. I’d still rather deal with that than have to watch 19 games against the Red Sox and Yankees every year. Talk about tiresome.

Back to the task at hand. The Athletics are the worst team in baseball at 34-87, on pace for a 46-116 record. That mark would be worse than even the most wretched of the recent horrendous Orioles teams, who bottomed out with a 47-115 record in 2018. The Athletics have been outscored by an unfathomable 282 runs this season.

After the Orioles’ disappointing series loss against a sub-.500 Padres team that shaved their division lead to two games, this weekend is the Birds’ chance to get back on the horse and string some wins together against an opponent that they should — at least on paper — utterly trounce. But the O’s surely aren’t going to count their chickens before they hatch, lest they fall victim to a trap series. The Orioles just need to keep their heads down and keep doing what they’ve been doing all year long — and it wouldn’t hurt to get their bats going after a sluggish offense on the road trip thus far — and good things should happen. Emphasis on should.


Updating some injured and rehabbing Orioles pitchers - School of Roch
No disrespect to John Means, but perhaps the most interesting rehabbing O’s pitcher to keep an eye on is Seth Johnson, the hard-throwing prospect the Birds got in the Trey Mancini trade. Johnson is expected to pitch in the FCL this weekend to finally make his Orioles organizational debut.

With AL’s best record, baseball’s best farm system, Orioles ‘set up for many, many years’ - The Baltimore Sun
Choosing high in the draft every year certainly helped the Orioles’ rebuild, but the Mike Elias regime deserves credit for absolutely nailing all of their key draft picks, as Nathan Ruiz notes. Plenty of teams (*cough* Royals *cough*) have failed in their rebuilds despite getting high picks.

You cannot stop Orioles draft pick Enrique Bradfield Jr. - The Baltimore Banner
Speaking of the Orioles nailing their draft picks, Enrique Bradfield Jr. is already running roughshod through his professional career with 10 steals in his first five games. Let’s hope we see him flying around the bases at Camden Yards in the not too distant future.

Noelberth Romero’s graduation was a proud day for O’s organization - Steve Melewski
Your feel-good story for the day: minor leaguer Noelberth Romero became the first international prospect to graduate from the Orioles’ education program in Latin America. Congratulations, Noelberth!

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! The only two former Orioles born on Aug. 18 are right-hander Josh Rupe (41) and the late utility man Bob Kennedy (b. 1920, d. 2005).

On this date in 1965, the Orioles’ Brooks Robinson hit into his third career triple play, tying a major league record. (He later hit into a fourth to dubiously become the sole record holder.) According to the box score, Robinson’s first-inning triple play against Boston was a ground ball that went 5-4-3-5. Not sure I understand what happened there. How did the guy at third base get thrown out last?

And on this day in 2017, Manny Machado had the game of his life, clubbing three home runs — the last of them a walkoff grand slam — to single-handedly defeat the Angels, 9-7. Manny’s first two homers, in the third and fifth innings, helped the O’s stay close after falling behind 5-0. He then came up again in the ninth with the O’s trailing by two runs and the bases loaded, and...boom. Instant Orioles win.

Random Orioles game of the day

On Aug. 18, 2015, the Orioles lost to the Mets at Camden Yards, 5-3. The Orioles, like most teams, had no luck trying to figure out Mets ace Jacob deGrom, who dominated them for 7.2 innings and gave up just one run (on a homer by Gerardo Parra, of all people). O’s starter Kevin Gausman pitched a quality start but was torched by veteran Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson, who smacked two home runs against him in the game. The O’s made things interesting in the ninth when they drew back-to-back bases loaded walks to cut the lead to two, but Manny Machado hit a game-ending groundout to leave ‘em loaded. (Don’t worry — he made up for it exactly two years later, as mentioned above.)