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Thursday Bird Droppings: So long to first place, for now

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The Orioles have lost four games in a row, a bunch of people are sick, they can't buy a hit with runners in scoring position, and to top it all off, they couldn't win a game of Pictionary on MLB Network.

Al Bello/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

We are still friends even when the Orioles are in a rough patch, aren't we? Maybe it's the flu, maybe it's something else, I don't know, but what I can tell you is that over the last three games, the Orioles squared off against three different starting pitchers who came into those games with an ERA of 5+, and against those pitchers, they scored a combined two runs in 17.1 innings. That... is extremely bad.

The fact that Chris Davis didn't play in any of those games surely contributes, as does the fact that Matt Wieters was hit in the foot early in the first game and missed the next two. Oh, and Manny Machado's sick now... as is Buck Showalter, who couldn't even manage on Wednesday night. They get no relief. An afternoon game awaits today.

If you need to catch up on what you missed yesterday - no one could blame you for doing something else with your life other than watching the Orioles - make sure to check out Stacey's recap of the game.

Oh yeah, and on top of the Orioles losing, the Red Sox won again, which means that the Orioles fall a half game behind first place in the division. They're a mere half game ahead of the Blue Jays. Yeesh.

But don't worry, because surely the fact that the Orioles are apparently scouting Phillies starter Jeremy Hellickson will be the solution to all of their problems, right? ...right? Is there anyone out there? Hello?

Around the blogO'sphere

Orioles stricken by flu bug, keeping Showalter home with Machado and Davis on bench - Baltimore Sun
No, but seriously, seemingly everybody is sick. Have the Red Sox been ruled out as suspects for intentionally introducing this contagion into the Orioles clubhouse?

Wrapping up injuries, illnesses, and a 5-0 loss (MASN)
I put an Oxford comma in there even though there wasn't one. Take that! Oh, and as for the article, you probably should not read it unless you're prepared to see quotes along the lines of: "We made (Michael Pineda) work. We were unable to get anything across on him, but we made him work."

All-Time #MLBRank The greatest players ever (ESPN)
ESPN is working its way through one of their latest dumb rankings projects, which under ordinary circumstances I would not bring to your attention because it's bad and also it sucks, but there's not a ton else to talk about today, so you might enjoy the hate-read.

Orioles' Julio Borbon returns to Major Leagues | orioles.com
It's been a while since Julio Borbon was at the MLB level, so you can probably imagine he's glad to be back. He might even get to play today, depending on the status of the back spasm that led to Adam Jones' early removal from last night's game.

Orioles' Brad Brach, Zach Britton can close out everything but a game of Pictionary - Baltimore Sun
That's what the headline says, although if you read the story, it turns out that MLB Network cheated and ignored the score in order to proclaim its host team the winners. Even baseball's TV station is out to screw over the Orioles! P.S. The drawings are top notch bad.

Orioles' Kim perseveres, despite difficult transition
I feel like this exact article or something very similar to it may have been linked recently, but I don't care because I never get tired of stories about how Kim is good now. Get well soon, Hyun Soo! The lineup misses you.

Birthdays and anniversaries

On this day in 1996, the Orioles acquired Eddie Murray from the Indians for pitcher Kent Mercker. The trade allowed Murray to hit his milestone 500th home run in an Orioles uniform... though the Indians may have regretted the trade a bit when Murray posted a .967 OPS against them as the O's beat them in the ALDS that year.

Also on this day, in 1961, the Orioles traded for Harry Chiti, father of current O's bullpen coach Dom Chiti. The elder Chiti never played at the MLB level with the O's, though. His only time in the organization was spent at Triple-A Rochester.

There are a number of former Orioles with birthdays today, including: Wei-Yin Chen, 2011 late-season reliever Willie Eyre, current O's TV/radio broadcaster Mike Bordick, young Mark Brown's favorite O's reliever Mark Williamson (1987-94), and a reliever for two World Series winning O's teams, the late Moe Drabowsky (1966-68, 1970).

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Along with those former Orioles, your birthday buddies today include: French astronomer Jean Picard (1620), novelist Ernest Hemingway (1899), funny man Robin Williams, RIP (1951), American soccer icon Brandi Chastain (1968), and today's Yankees starting pitcher CC Sabathia (1980).

On this day in history...

In 356 BC, the Temple of Artemis in Ephesus, one of the seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was destroyed by arson.

In 365 AD, a tsunami washed over Alexandria, Egypt following a magnitude 8.5+ earthquake in Crete, killing at least 50,000 people. What I want to know is, how do they know it was an 8.5 magnitude earthquake?

In 1861, Union and Confederate forces fought the (First) Battle of Bull Run, which was the first major battle of the Civil War. The Confederates won the day, though both sides realized the war would be longer than they first thought.

In 1925, in Tennessee, high school biology teacher John Scopes was found guilty of teaching evolution in his class. He was fined $100. That's close to $1,400 in today's money.

In 1983, in Vostok Station in Antarctica, the temperature sunk to the lowest that has ever been recorded in an inhabited location. That record still stands today: -89.2 degrees Celsius, -128.6 degrees Fahrenheit.

**

And that's the way it is in Birdland on July 21 - or at least, until something happens later. Have a safe Thursday, and don't get the flu! Go Orioles!