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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles played an unusually sloppy game

The air temporarily came out of the O’s balloon with an ugly loss in Toronto last night.

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The Orioles, as it turns out, are not going to go undefeated for the rest of the year. After reaching a season-best 25 games over .500 with a blowout win on Tuesday, the O’s turned in a dud last night with one of their sloppiest losses of the season. The Blue Jays’ game-winning rally in the sixth started with two outs and nobody on base when Orioles pitchers issued three consecutive walks, two straight bases-loaded hit batsmen, and a grounder that shaky-of-late shortstop Jorge Mateo booted for a run-scoring error. That’s six batters in a row who reached base, none of them on hits. Brutal. Tyler Young recapped the carnage in Toronto.

The ugly inning, in which reliever Shintaro Fujinami couldn’t find the strike zone, raised new questions about the Orioles’ decision not to acquire another reliever at the trade deadline. Fujinami is untested, setup man Yennier Cano is fading, and the Orioles have had season-long struggles with their middle relievers. It was a gamble for the O’s not to add an arm from outside the organization to supplement the pen, and hopefully won’t lead to too many more losses like last night’s.

Oh well. The O’s remain 1.5 games ahead in the AL East, thanks to the Rays’ loss to the Yankees last night. And the Birds still have a chance to win the series this afternoon if they can best former Oriole Kevin Gausman in the finale. The Orioles’ trade deadline acquisition, Jack Flaherty, will be making his Birds debut. Let’s see what the new guy’s got.


O’s pitching allows three runs on no hits in sixth as Blue Jays win 4-1 - Steve Melewski
Along with their other problems, the Orioles scored just one run last night, and only because the Jays pitcher forgot to cover first base on a routine grounder. You’d hardly believe it was the same offense that erupted for 13 runs the previous night. That’s baseball for ya.

Baker optioned to Triple-A Norfolk (plus Orioles lineup and notes - updated) - Roch Kubatko
One of the aforementioned struggling middle relievers, Bryan Baker, got sent down to the minors for the first time in his two-year Orioles career. A little bit of a surprise, but it seems he’ll be getting the Tyler Wells treatment of working on stuff in a low-pressure environment for a while. Couldn’t hurt.

MLB monthly award winners for July 2023 -
There is some good bullpen news, and of course it involves their unhittable closer Félix Bautista, who was named AL Reliever of the Month for the third time in four months. In case you were wondering (as I was), the month he didn’t win was May, when the Tigers’ Alex Lange got the award.

New Orioles starter Jack Flaherty to make team debut Thursday: ‘Exciting to be on a good team’ - Baltimore Sun
Jack Flaherty seems like a guy we're going to enjoy, personality-wise. Hopefully his pitching will be just as enjoyable.

Baltimore mayor says Orioles stadium lease not among his 99 problems - CBS Baltimore
Brandon Scott has “no level of concern” about the Orioles' failure thus far to extend their lease at Camden Yards. Apparently a reporter asked him about it during his press conference about a mass shooting, which...really? Is that the time or place?

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Three former Orioles were born on this day, including Mark “The Sherriff” Reynolds (40), 2022 infielder Jonathan Araúz (25), and the late right-hander Dick Hyde (b. 1928, d. 2020), who pitched for the 1961 Birds.

On this date in 1969, O’s lefty Dave McNally finally lost a game after starting the season 15-0 (and winning 17 straight decisions dating back to the previous year). He carried a 1-0 lead into the seventh in Minnesota before the Twins rallied for four runs, and Hall of Fame lefty Jim Kaat stifled the O’s offense.

Random Orioles game of the day

On Aug. 3, 1991, the Orioles defeated the White Sox, 6-3, at Comiskey Park. The O’s scored all six of their runs in the first two innings, which featured nine hits, including six doubles. Cal Ripken Jr. had RBI doubles in both innings, and Tim Hulett and Sam Horn each added a run-scoring two-bagger against White Sox ace Jack McDowell. Bob Milacki pitched seven strong innings for the Birds, whose win improved their record to a still-bad 42-60.

Things would get a lot more interesting the very next day, when a hotshot young prospect named Mike Mussina made his MLB debut. But that’s a story for another time.