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Saturday Bird Droppings: No room for error

The O’s look to find their footing in Arizona, Gunnar is a freak, and thinking about year-end awards.

Baltimore Orioles v Arizona Diamondbacks Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

I do not enjoy when the Orioles are in Arizona. It gives me flashbacks to 2013, when they made a mid-August trip to the desert. That team entered the series in fine form, only 1.5 games back of a playoff spot. But it went downhill from there. They had the lead in all three games against the Diamondbacks that week, and they lost all three, each in walk-off fashion. Jim Johnson had a particularly bad time, blowing two saves. Including those three losses, the Orioles finished the season 20-25, out of the playoffs by 6.5 games.

Things aren’t quite so dire this time around. While the Orioles aren’t guaranteed a playoff spot just yet, the odds are quite good that they lock it up sometime soon. What is far less assured is their seed. They want a first round bye and home field advantage. In order to earn that, they need to win the AL East. The Tampa Bay Rays are not making that easy.

Fortunately, the Rays did lose on Friday in Cleveland, so the gap between the two teams remains at 1.5 games despite the Orioles dropping their own game in Arizona, 4-2.

It’s all building towards the four-game set at Camden Yards in two weeks between the two teams. The Orioles need to win just one of those games to clinch the season series, thereby giving them the head-to-head tiebreaker and effectively an extra half-game in the standings. But they will certainly hope to do even better than that, potentially burying the Rays’ hopes of a division crown that week.

One would imagine that the Orioles aren’t thinking much about that series just yet. They need to get back on track in Arizona first and then see out the rest of this lengthy, bi-coastal road trip that also takes them to Anaheim and Boston.


Orioles who could win MLB awards this season, from Gunnar Henderson to Adley Rutschman to Kyle Bradish | The Baltimore Sun
The O’s should be getting some love when the year-end awards roll around. The team has been too good as a group to not also earn a few individual accolades. Gunnar Henderson is the most likely to win, but a few others are prominent in those conversations.

Henderson shines in the field on quiet night for O’s |
Speaking of Henderson, he is great! That throw to nab Corbin Carroll last night was ridiculous. I cannot even explain how awesome it is that he’s only a rookie, and we should get many more years of this.

This, that and the other | Roch Kubatko
The Orioles aren’t giving up any information on their pitching plans for the rest of the month. Will Félix Bautista return in some fashion? No one knows. When is Tyler Wells joining the bullpen? We’ll see. Is John Means going to start or relieve? It’s being monitored. Can my blood pressure handle this? I sure hope so.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Dusten Knight is 33 today. The back-flipping reliever appeared in seven games for the 2021 Orioles.
  • Jason Hammel celebrates 41. Between 2012 and ‘13, the righty was a surprisingly solid piece in the rotation of two Orioles teams that brought winning back to Baltimore.
  • Rex Hudler is 63. He played in 14 games for the 1986 O’s, but may be better remembered by many as the color commentator in the video game series MLB The Show for six years.
  • The late Drugo Hazewood (b. 1959, d. 2013) was born on this day. In 1980 he played in six games for the Orioles as an outfielder.
  • John Flinn turns 69. He had two brief stints with the Orioles, first from 1978 through ‘79 and then again in 1982.
  • Nate Snell is 71 years old. From 1984 through ‘86, the 6-foot-4 hurler pitched in 82 games as a reliever in Baltimore.
  • Dave Criscione is 72. His MLB career lasted all of seven games with the 1977 Birds.
  • Marv Throneberry (b. 1933, d. 1994) receives a posthumous celebration. His seven-year MLB career included two partial seasons with the O’s from 1961-62.

This day in O’s history

2012 - The Orioles beat the Yankees 8-3 to move within two games of the AL East lead. Chris Tillman throws only three innings after experiencing elbow stiffness, but 36-year-old Randy Wolf delivers 3.1 solid innings in his team debut to get the win. Mark Reynolds smacks two home runs to lead the offense.