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Friday Bird Droppings: A pivotal September awaits the Orioles

With 29 games remaining and a razor-thin lead in the division, every win matters down the stretch.

MLB: AUG 30 White Sox at Orioles Photo by Mark Goldman/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

This is it. The final month of the 2023 regular season. It’s do or die time for the Orioles.

OK, maybe not do or die. The O’s, with a 10.5 game lead over the closest non-playoff team in the AL, are a good bet to qualify for a postseason spot one way or the other. That, in itself, would be a welcome sight for Orioles fans, who haven’t seen their team participate in playoff baseball in seven years.

But with how spectacularly the Orioles have played this season, slumping in September and settling for a wild card spot would feel like a disappointing result. So if it’s not “do or die,” it’s more like “do or...meh.” The O’s have every opportunity to secure the AL East division crown and secure a first-round bye. They just need to continue playing their brand of good, quality baseball to make it happen.

This is the first time since 2014 that the O’s have entered September in first place. That year, the Orioles were already a comfortable nine games ahead when the calendar turned to the final month. They have no such easy cushion this time around, with the hard-charging Rays just 1.5 games on their heels, so every game will be crucially important.

While the O’s play the scrappy, postseason-hungry Diamondbacks this weekend, the Rays get to face the sub-.500 Guardians, who are barely clinging to life in the AL Central race. The good news is that the Guardians were the primary beneficiaries of the Angels’ perplexing “waive ‘em all and let the baseball gods sort it out” strategy. Cleveland claimed three of the veterans that Los Angeles dumped — starter Lucas Giolito and relievers Reynaldo López and Matt Moore — who will hopefully help tilt the balance in their upcoming series with Tampa Bay. Even better: none of the teams in direct competition with the Orioles for a playoff spot won the claims on Giolito, López, Moore, and the other Angels castoffs.

Orioles fans will surely be scoreboard watching over the next few weeks, but in the end, the O’s can control their own destiny. Just keep winning games, keep winning series, and good things will happen. It’s going to be a wild final month.


Cowser and Krehbiel joining Orioles’ expanded roster - School of Roch
I was 0-for-2 on predicting the O’s two September callups, which I thought would be Joey Ortiz and Tyler Wells. Of course we could well see them at some point anyway. It’s not as if the Orioles won’t make any more roster moves the rest of the season.

One year of Gunnar Henderson: Ranking the 10 best moments from the Orioles’ star infielder - Baltimore Sun
I’m impressed that Jacob Calvin Meyer was able to narrow the list to just 10. Orioles fans are lucky to get to watch the Gunnar Show every night.

Six-man starting rotation working well for Orioles -
Echoing Andrea SK’s article yesterday, it seems the six-man rotation experiment has turned out exactly as the O’s hoped. There’s no reason not to continue it in September, although a certain one of those starters could be swapped out for John Means. You know which one.

Reds Release Trey Mancini - MLB Trade Rumors
Poor Trey is having a rough go of it, having been released by two different teams this year. I don’t expect the O’s to reunite with him, but come on, there’s got to be some team out there that can use his help.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 28th birthday of right-hander Eduard Bazardo, who appeared in three games for the Orioles earlier this year before being traded to Seattle. The only other former Oriole born on this day is the late lefty Dean Stone (b. 1930, d. 2018).

On this date in 1961, Orioles manager Paul Richards, who had previously served as both skipper and GM, resigned his position to become general manager of the expansion Houston Colt .45s. Richards finished his O’s managerial career with a 517-539 record in nearly seven seasons.

And on this day in 2007, the O’s got no-hit by Boston’s Clay Buchholz in just his second career start. It was the sixth time in their history the O’s had been no-hit. Buchholz was the first pitcher to throw a no-hitter in his second major league game since Wilson Alvarez in 1991, which was also against the Orioles.

Random Orioles game of the day

On Sept. 1, 1993, the O’s defeated the Angels, 5-1, at Anaheim Stadium, behind a complete game masterpiece by now-MASN analyst Ben McDonald. A fifth-inning sac fly was Big Ben’s only blemish, as he limited the Angels to just four hits and two walks while racking up 10 strikeouts. That kicked off an outstanding September in which McDonald threw four CGs in one month, and it was the third of an eventual eight-game O’s winning streak that pulled them within a game of the AL East lead.