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Sunday Bird Droppings: The Orioles take aim at a sweep of the MLB-worst Athletics

Maybe they can score more than two runs in the first nine innings and make it easier on themselves today

Baltimore Orioles v Oakland Athletics Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

By now, we are all well acquainted that the Orioles steadfastly refuse to win easy. Those of us who stayed up late to watch the end last night got another lesson in this last night, as the team scored five runs in the top of the tenth inning and still had to sweat a bit in the bottom of the tenth when the bases were loaded with no one out.

That’s as far as it got. The Orioles won by five. It goes down as a blowout on Baseball Reference. But it was a stressful win, not just because of the bases loaded in the tenth but also because the team scored just two runs in the first nine innings while facing these Oakland pitchers: Ken Waldichuk (5.91 ERA), Lucas Erceg (6.38), Kirby Snead (2.84), and Trevor May (4.64). Against the league’s worst pitching staff, going into extras with two runs scored is not good!

Still, a win is a win. They don’t have to give it back just because it wasn’t aesthetically pleasing. The Orioles ended up gaining a half-game on the Tampa Bay Rays on Saturday, as the Rays split a doubleheader with the Angels. That doubleheader was hastily scheduled in anticipation of Hurricane Hilary impacting the Los Angeles area today. The O’s are 2.5 games up on the Rays, with a chance to go three up if they can sweep the Athletics today. The magic number to clinch the East is 36.

The good news for anyone who really wants to see a sweep is that it’s Kyle Bradish starting the 4:07 finale this afternoon. In terms of results in the 2023 season to date, he’s the team’s best guy in the rotation and it’s not a particularly narrow margin to second place. This does not guarantee that he will carve through the A’s lineup as if it was a Thanksgiving turkey, because nothing is ever guaranteed in baseball. Hopefully he can take advantage of a favorable matchup by pitching like he’s been pitching for months.

For the Athletics, it’s one of their best starting pitchers in JP Sears. He’s got a 4.27 ERA so far this season, which when accounting for Oakland’s home park makes him roughly equivalent to Dean Kremer in his results. Sears is a lefty, which maybe sounds scary to you if recent Orioles teams hurt you against lefties, but the 2023 squad is actually 28-14 when facing lefty starters, and they’ve got 27 more points of OPS against lefties than they do against righties. I am also surprised every time I look this up.

Around the blogO’sphere

Hicks returns to injured list (School of Roch)
I think the Orioles were hoping to avoid having to do this, but once Anthony Santander left Friday’s game with “general soreness” they really didn’t have much choice. So, for now, Hicks out and McKenna in. Do you expect any more outfield adjustments before the end of August?

The Little League World Series champion in the Orioles organization (
I’m glad that Josh Lester got to have this life memory when he was 12. But the headline definitely made me think we were going to get a story about someone who’s actually on the Orioles right now. (I adjusted it so you wouldn’t be similarly tricked.)

Breaking down Orioles pitching prospect Trace Bright (The Baltimore Banner)
The 22-year-old righty, who the O’s selected in the fifth round last year, has 124 strikeouts in 79.2 innings this season. That’s good! He’s also walked 45. That’s not so good.

Young catcher Samuel Basallo gets on a tear at Aberdeen (Steve Melewski)
Samuel Basallo! It seems like everyone wants to talk about him lately. Hopefully that’s still the case for a good reason over the next few years.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

The most recent Orioles victory on this day happened four years ago. The 2019 team beat the Royals, 4-1, with Hanser Alberto’s three-run homer in the eighth inning making the difference. Dylan Bundy, allowing one run in seven innings, nearly got his ERA below 5. Of the players to appear for the O’s that day, the only one who remains in the organization is Anthony Santander.

There are a couple of former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 1996/98-2001 outfielder Gene Kingsale, and 1955-59 reliever George Zuverink. Zuverink passed away in 2014 at the age of 90.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: 23rd president Benjamin Harrison (1833), writer H. P. Lovecraft (1890), musician/actor Isaac Hayes (1942), journalist Connie Chung (1946), TV weatherman Al Roker (1954), rapper KRS-One (1965), and actress Amy Adams (1974).

On this day in history...

In 636, the Arab army of Khalid ibn al-Walid defeated the Byzantines in the Battle of Yarmouk. This was the first major victory for Muslims as they expanded out of Arabia and led to their taking control of the Eastern Mediterranean region of the Levant.

In 1882, the premiere performance of Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture took place in Moscow.

In 1977, NASA launched the Voyager 2 spacecraft, which became the first and only craft to fly by Uranus in 1986 and Neptune in 1989. Its distance from Earth today is more than 133 times the distance from Earth to the Sun.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on August 20. Have a safe Sunday. Go O’s!