Good morning, Camden Chatters.
It’s the first week of August, and the Orioles have 70 wins. This is not a drill.
The Birds became the first team in the American League and the second in the majors this year to reach the 70-win mark. They completed a three-game sweep of the Mets yesterday afternoon, riding a shutdown bullpen and quality defense to a 2-0 victory. Check out Stacey’s recap for all the glorious details.
Poor Buck Showalter. His Mets looked like a team that had no interest in playing baseball this weekend. They remind me a bit of Buck’s 2018 Orioles — a team that collapsed early, traded away many of its best players, and slumbered through one lifeless loss after another. Showalter may not be to blame, but he seems powerless to change it, and it’s fair to wonder whether the Mets will even keep him around for the final year of his contract next season.
But back to the Orioles. They’re now 28 games over .500, at 70-42. For perspective, there have been 19 seasons in O’s history in which they never reached 70 wins at all, including three of the last four full years. And the 2023 Orioles have reached that mark with another 50 games still to play! The Birds remain three games ahead of the Rays for the AL East lead.
It’s been a long time since the O’s were the team that every other club was looking up to in the standings. I’m not used to this feeling, honestly. It’s nice!
Tonight the Orioles have a well-earned day off before resuming their homestand against the Astros, a much more formidable opponent than the Mets. What a ride it’s been so far, and we can only hope the rest of the season lives up to the incredible standard the O’s have set for themselves.
Bullpen dominates as Orioles win 4th straight, 2-0 over Mets - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Perhaps the most impressive part about the bullpen's dominant performance yesterday was that, other than Félix Bautista, it wasn't the usual high-leverage guys doing the job. Cionel Pérez, Shintaro Fujinami, and even Cole Irvin got big outs in key situations. Hey, who needed a new reliever at the trade deadline anyway?
Hyde on Mateo: “He’s been a total pro about everything" - School of Roch
What do we think about the Jorge Mateo in center field experiment, Camden Chatters? He played there a little bit in the minors, and he's certainly got the speed for it, but I don't think he'll make anyone forget Cedric Mullins.
Orioles first-round pick Enrique Bradfield Jr.’s baseball savvy has impressed people since he was 5: ‘He just loves the game’
Bruce Aven, who coached Bradfield in high school, sees him as a similar player to Kenny Lofton. If he has anywhere near that kind of career, I think Orioles fans will gladly take it.
Birdland Insider: PICKED OFF: The Night Tippy Martinez Made History | Baltimore Orioles
Bill Stetka describes the improbable series of events that led Tippy Martinez to pick off three runners in one inning in 1983. I still can’t fathom what the Blue Jays runners were thinking. How could the third guy not just, like, glue himself to first base?
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Aug. 7 is a very popular date for Orioles birthdays, with a whopping eight former O’s players born on this day. They include catchers Ryan Lavarnway (36) and Gerónimo Gil (48); left-hander Wade LeBlanc (39); right-handers Jason Grimsley (56) and the late Don Larsen (b. 1929, d. 2020), Art Houtteman (b. 1927, d. 2003), and Bob Alexander (b. 1922, d. 1993); and the late outfielder Tex Nelson (b. 1936, d. 2011).
On this day in 2016, the Orioles’ Manny Machado hit three home runs...in the first three innings. During the Orioles’ 10-2 pounding of the White Sox in Chicago, Machado launched a two-run homer off James Shields in the first, a three-run shot off Shields in the second, and a two-run blast off ex-Oriole Matt Albers in the third. Manny Machado was pretty good, you guys.
On the other end of the spectrum, this date in 2019 was one of the lowest points in recent O’s history. The Birds lost to the Yankees, 14-2, and gave up five home runs in the game, giving the Yanks an MLB record-tying 16 dingers in the three-game sweep. (The O’s, in 10 games against the Yankees in Baltimore that year, went 0-10 and gave up 43 homers.) Oh, and also, Chris Davis and Brandon Hyde nearly broke out into a dugout fight. My goodness, how times have changed.
Random Orioles game of the day
On Aug. 7, 1987, the O’s defeated the Rangers, 9-2, at Memorial Stadium. The Orioles put the game out of reach almost immediately by plating five runs in the first inning off Texas starter Paul Kilgus (who later pitched a season for the Birds). Cal Ripken Jr. crushed a three-run homer in the first that plated his brother Billy — no doubt pleasing their dad and O’s manager, Cal Ripken Sr. — and Larry Sheets added a two-run shot later in the frame. Sheets hit another two-run homer in the seventh. Orioles starter Ken Dixon earned the win with seven strong innings. The win moved the O’s to 49-60 for the season.