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Thursday Bird Droppings: Looking ahead to the Orioles roster shuffle

A roster shuffle is coming for the Orioles, with both Brian Matusz and Kevin Gausman set to return from the disabled list soon. Also in today's links: More Joey Rickard love, because what else would be in there?

Hello, friends.

After an unlikely victory over the Blue Jays last night, the Orioles sit at 9-4 on the season. They've now got a 2.5 game advantage over their two closest competitors, the Red Sox and the Blue Jays. If you missed the 4-3 victory in the first extra innings game the O's played this season, or if you just want to re-live the highs and lows, check out Stacey's recap here.

One of the durable, if dubious, narratives from the mainstream O's media last season was that Chris Tillman struggled a lot against the Blue Jays. This was generally deployed as an excuse - like, oh, Tillman's near-5.00 ERA isn't THAT bad once you take out his 11.72 ERA in six starts against the Blue Jays. And indeed, it wasn't; against all other teams he had a 3.84 ERA.

Not great, but not awful. But what good is it if you're completely terrible against a division opponent you will probably face more than any other team? Anyway, we might get the truest test of whether Tillman is going to do any better this year compared to last year based on how he performs tonight in the rubber match against the Jays. The O's could really stand to have him defy that trend.

Let's hit the links.

Around the blogO'sphere

"Doctor" Paul Eicholtz, Known For Orioles Br | WBAL Radio 1090 AM
The extended Orioles family lost a long-time member as former O's radio producer/engineer Paul Eicholtz passed away recently. Joe Angel and Fred Manfra first started messing with him and this continues on to the present day whenever they bring up the current producer, "Tiny" Tim Jones.

Steve Melewski: Did Wright take a step forward last night? (Plus Schoop on the power)
From yesterday on MASN. If logging a bare minimum quality start (six innings, three earned runs) is taking a step forward, I guess that's good... but then again it's also bad.

School of Roch: Updating Matusz, Gausman, Jones, Lohse and more
Matusz is coming. Are you prepared?

Brian Matusz's pending return could signal changes in Orioles bullpen construction, usage - Baltimore Sun
It looks like the people who really ought to be prepared are the O's long relievers with minor league options. Gotta figure T.J. McFarland is going to head to the minors when Matusz is activated, which is expected to happen on Saturday.

Orioles notebook: Joey Rickard adjusting to leadoff role - Baltimore Sun
No early season Orioles discussion is complete without mention of Rule 5 sensation Joey Rickard, who added three hits to his tally in Wednesday's game.

Birthdays and anniversaries

Former Orioles with birthdays today include one of the many 2011 middle infielders, Ryan Adams, 2012 short-timer Ronny Paulino, LOOGY prototype Jesse Orosco (1995-99 teams), and Al Bumbry, who was here from 1972-84 and never played on a losing team.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Along with those former Orioles, you also have these birthday buddies for today: French mathematician Michel Rolle, who has a theorem (1652), Jane Eyre author Charlotte Brontë (1816), the UK's Queen Elizabeth II (1926), Who's the Boss? actor Tony Danza (1951), Groundhog Day actress Andie MacDowell (1958), The Cure's Robert Smith (1959), purportedly funny man Rob Riggle (1970), and the current Professor X of film, James McAvoy (1979).

On this day in history...

In 753 BC, according to tradition, the city of Rome was founded by Romulus.

In 1509 AD, Henry VIII ascended to the throne of England. Other than his six marriages, he's also the man who presided over the union of England and Wales.

In 1835, the Battle of San Jacinto, which was the decisive battle of the Texas revolution, was waged. Sam Houston's force defeated Santa Anna's Mexicans in 18 minutes.

In 1918, during World War I, Germany's fighter ace Manfred von Richthofen, better known to history as The Red Baron, was shot down and killed over France. The Red Baron himself shot down 80 aircraft. Canadian RAF Captain Arthur Roy Brown is credited with the victory, though it's now believed ground fire struck Richthofen in the cockpit.

In 1992, astronomers Alexander Wolszczan and Dale Frail announced the first discovery of extrasolar planets - that is, any planet not orbiting our Sun. By the present day, there have been 2,108 confirmed exoplanets located. Eight of these are believed to orbit in their star's habitable zone.

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And that's the way it is in Birdland on April 21 - or at least, until something happens later. Have a safe Thursday. Go Orioles!