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Monday Bird Droppings: The nine-game homestand rolls on

The O’s have won both series on this homestand so far, despite yesterday’s slip-up, and have one more winnable series to go before another west coast road trip.

MLB: Colorado Rockies at Baltimore Orioles Reggie Hildred-USA TODAY Sports

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

In baseball, more than any other sport, a bad team is capable of beating a good team on any given day. Never was that more evident than yesterday’s series finale in which the Rockies, the worst team in the National League, edged out the AL-best Orioles by a 4-3 margin, averting a sweep. Alex Church recapped the frustrating loss, which saw the Birds deliver another clutch, late-inning homer before a crucial error in the ninth let things slip away. The defeat knocked a game off the Orioles’ AL East lead, as the Rays beat the Yankees to pull within two games of the Birds. The O’s magic number to clinch the division title remains 30.

No time to dwell on it. On to the next game. The Orioles continue their nine-game homestand tonight with another extremely beatable opponent, the woeful White Sox, who last week fired both their vice president and general manager amidst a disaster of a season. The O’s, after winning their series against both the Blue Jays and Rockies on this homestand, should follow suit against Chicago, but of course there’s no such thing as a guaranteed win (as we saw yesterday). The Orioles will need to take care of business themselves and can’t rely on outside help to hold down the Rays, who will play a two-game series against the Marlins — who are barely hanging on to the fringes of the NL wild card race — sandwiched between a couple of off days.

Get used to this kind of pressure-packed baseball. The stakes are going to be incredibly high for the Orioles for the next few weeks as they look to secure their first postseason berth since 2016, and the loss of their All-Star closer for the foreseeable future won’t make things any easier. But this is what O’s fans — after so many years of suffering through uncompetitive, unwatchable baseball — have been waiting so long for. Bring it on.


Unearned run costs Orioles in 4-3 loss to Rockies; O'Hearn's pinch-hit homer -
The Rockies managed to win this one despite yet another blown late-inning lead, but man, their bullpen is historically bad. I’m getting 2007-era-Orioles vibes from that team.

Orioles bullpen still strong without Félix Bautista -
There definitely are some capable arms in that O’s bullpen, sure. But the thought of the Orioles facing a huge ninth-inning jam in a do-or-die postseason game and having to turn to, say, Danny Coulombe instead of Félix Bautista does not fill me with hope. (No offense to Danny Coulombe, but I’m sure you see my point.)

With improved velocity, DL Hall ready to contribute out of Orioles’ bullpen: ‘Just happy to be here’ - Baltimore Sun
For a while it seemed like this would be a lost season for DL Hall, especially when he was toiling in the Sarasota complex for months, but now he’s primed to be a key contributor down the stretch. Let's see what you’ve got, kid.

Bees put brief pause on Rockies-Orioles finale on Sunday | WBFF
Well, you can’t spell “Baltimore” without “B.”

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day, including Kelvin Gutiérrez (29), who was the Birds’ Opening Day third baseman just last year. The others are right-hander Mike Torrez (77) and outfielder Lou Piniella (80), who began his MLB playing career with four games for the 1964 Orioles before playing 17 seasons elsewhere and managing for another 23.

On this date in 1960, the Orioles beat the White Sox, 3-1, in a game marred by controversy. In the top of the eighth inning, with Chicago trailing by two, pinch-hitter Ted Kluszewski smacked an apparent go-ahead, three-run homer for the White Sox off Milt Pappas. But plate umpire Ed Hurley waved off the homer because he had called timeout while the pitch was being delivered. White Sox manager Al Lopez argued for nearly 15 minutes before getting ejected. Given new life, Pappas retired Kluszewski on a flyout to end the inning. The O’s went on to win, moving one game ahead of the White Sox for second place in the AL.

And on this day in 1980, the O’s clubbed a team-record 26 hits in a 13-8 slugfest victory over the Angels in Baltimore. Eight hits were doubles and the other 18 were singles. Three Orioles — Eddie Murray, Gary Roenicke, and Rich Dauer — had four hits each, and Al Bumbry and Terry Crowley added three apiece. The O’s had a whopping 28 at-bats with runners in scoring position, collecting 13 hits in those situations.

Random Orioles game of the day

On Aug. 28, 1973, the Orioles lost to the Rangers, 5-3, at Memorial Stadium. The O’s offense was held in check by three Texas pitchers, managing just one extra-base hit, while starter Dave McNally gave up four runs and nine hits and didn’t get out of the fifth inning. Reliever Bob Reynolds threw 4.2 innings without allowing an earned run, but it was too little, too late. The O’s didn’t have much reason to fret, though. At 75-53, they remained a comfortable five games ahead of Boston for first place in the AL East, which they would later clinch.