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Sunday Bird Droppings: John Means is all the way back, folks

Means plays stopper, Henderson is already a leader, and progress internationally.

Baltimore Orioles v Cleveland Guardians Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

Good morning, Birdland!

John Means, man. You cannot say enough good things about how the veteran lefty pitched in Saturday’s 2-1 win. He gave the team length with 7.1 innings. He gave them quality, not allowing a hit until the seventh. And he served as the needed stopper to get this team’s magic number down to five with seven games left to play. It was huge!

The performance may have also made the conversation around a postseason rotation much more interesting. We still don’t know if the Orioles will begin their journey in the Wild Card round or the Divisional Round. But with the way Means has looked since his return he might factor into either scenario.

If the Orioles have the luxury of lining up their rotation, we have to imagine that Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez would start the first two games of any series. They have been too good for too long to deny them of that. A potential game three start would seem like Dean Kremer’s turn, but maybe Means jumps him if the Orioles are confident with what we saw last night? But in any case, those feel like the four starters

It does seem that Kyle Gibson has drifted from the pack just a bit. The team’s Opening Day starter has an appealing 3.63 ERA this month, but it’s masking a 6.09 FIP. And that is a follow up to a putrid month of August (7.89 ERA/5.22 FIP).

Of course, if Gibson impresses in today’s game that could once again upend things and put the pressure on Kremer to put his best foot forward in the final week of the season. It’s not the worst problem for a post-season-bound team to have these last few days of the regular season.


On and off field, Kyle Gibson teaching young Orioles how to be major leaguers: ‘He shows you how it’s done’ | The Baltimore Sun
Gibson has been an important addition to this team. While his on-field production has been more OK than brilliant, the mentorship and the workload he’s taken on have been crucial to the development and growth of this rotation.

Gibson on Henderson: “He’s going to be a leader on this team for a long time” | Roch Kubatko
The season that Henderson has put together is just so impressive. He has improved so much from a scuffling rookie to the sparkplug of a team that just might win 100 games. It’s pretty neat that we get to watch him in Baltimore for at least a few more seasons.

O’s international program was big as club had four top prospects in the FCL | Steve Melewski
We are still yet to see the fruits of the Orioles international work make it up to the big leagues yet. But the prospect rankings are at least a tangible result of the improvements the team has made there.

Orioles birthdays

Is it your birthday? Happy birthday!

  • Travis Ishikawa turns 40. He spent six games as a first baseman and DH with the 2013 Orioles.
  • Jesse Garcia is 50. The utility infielder began his big league career as a part-time player for the Orioles from 1999 through 2000.
  • Kevin Millar is 52 years old. He had a three-year stint with the O’s from 2006 through 2008.
  • Rafael Palmeiro celebrates his 59th. Undoubtedly a team legend, the now infamous Palmeiro played seven season in Baltimore split between 1994-98 and then again from 2004-05.
  • The late Curt Motton (b. 1940, d. 2010) was born on this day. He played outfield in Baltimore from 1967 through ‘71 and then again from 1973-74.

This day in O’s history

1971 - Mike Cuellar wins his 20th game as the Orioles beat Cleveland 9-2 and clinch the division title. Pat Dobson wins his 20th game in the second half of the doubleheader.

2012 - The Orioles split a double-header with the Blue Jays, losing half a game to the Yankees in the AL East standings.