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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where everyone's still counting out the Orioles

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Now less than a week until Opening Day. The Orioles still have some cuts to make. In today's links, the Orioles get no love from the computers, again, looking back at 1997, and outlook on the AL East.

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Hello, friends.

There are now just six days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. You probably don't need me to tell you that this is the number currently being worn by Jonathan Schoop, which was also worn not too long ago by Melvin Mora, as one McNulty brother famously reminded the other.

Yesterday was supposed to be the big cut day for the team, though this turned out not to be the case. The Orioles did trim their roster a little bit, sending catcher Chance Sisco down to minor league camp and sending Michael Bourn and Chris Johnson packing. But there's still 38 players left in camp, including six non-roster invites. Maybe that winnowing will come today.

If you missed it yesterday, the Orioles named Kevin Gausman as the Opening Day starter and also announced that Dylan Bundy is going to start the second game of the season. In classic Mark the Pessimist fashion, I took this information, went into the preseason prediction contest, and proclaimed the first team to sweep the Orioles would be the Blue Jays. You should enter so you can prove you're smarter than me.

Around the blogO'sphere

Orioles release Bourn and Johnson - School of Roch
Johnson's release comes as a bit of surprise since, as Kubatko notes, Johnson was thought to be ticketed for the starting third base job in Norfolk, where his father is the manager.

Twenty years later: Looking back at the Orioles’ wire-to-wire 1997 season - Baltimore Sun
Here's The Sun with a pretty good retrospective of the 1997 season. It seems some people still aren't over the Lenny Webster passed ball that maybe should have been called a foul tip.

Ranking the MLB teams ahead of the 2017 season (ESPN)
Although ESPN's computers predict an 80-82 record for the Orioles, its humans rank them as the 13th best team in baseball. That sounds about right to me.

2017 Positional Power Rankings: Starting Rotation (#16-30) | FanGraphs Baseball
Speaking of rankings, here's Fangraphs with yet another reminder that the Orioles starting rotation probably won't be very good. Their computers give the O's the 21st-best rotation in baseball... which is actually better than last year.

Ryan McKenna gets taste of The Show with Orioles - Sports - fosters.com - Dover, NH
A favorite genre of story in the Camden Chat links is "local kid makes good" - and the people back home in New Hampshire noticed when 2015 fourth rounder Ryan McKenna got into yesterday's wacky spring training contest.

A look at a big outlier among Mark Trumbo's 2016 stats - Steve Melewski
Like almost everybody else on the Orioles, Mark Trumbo kind of wasn't good against left-handed pitchers last season. What was different for Trumbo is that this was an aberration compared to his career numbers.

The AL East Won't Be About The Yankees-Red Sox Rivalry This Year (FiveThirtyEight)
An AL East chat with SI's Emma Span and CC's favorite baseball writer, Dan Szymborski. It's a pretty good rundown of the division, although it's not so good in that they all think the Orioles will come in last.

Birthdays and anniversaries

On this day in 1999, the Orioles became the first MLB team in 40 years to travel to Cuba. They played an exhibition against a team of Cuban amatauers, winning 3-2 in 11 innings.

There are three former Orioles with birthdays today. They are recent ex-Oriole Christian Walker, 1997 swingman Shawn Boskie, and regrettable trade acquisition Glenn Davis.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Along with those former Orioles, your birthday buddies for today include: painter and Ninja Turtle namesake Raphael (1483), Pabst Brewing Company founder Frederick Pabst (1836), country singer-songwriter Reba McEntire (1955), occasionally funny man Vince Vaughn (1970), actress Julia Stiles (1981), and music's Lady Gaga (1986).

On this day in history...

In 193, Roman Emperor Pertinax was assassinated by his own Praetorian Guards. The Guards then had an auction in which they sold the throne to Didius Julianus, who would be emperor for nine weeks.

In 1862, in the Battle of Glorieta Pass in the Civil War, a Union force repelled an attempted Confederate invasion of the New Mexico Territory.

In 1959, the government of Tibet was dissolved by the State Council of the People's Republic of China.

In 1979, a coolant leak in one of the reactors in Three Mile Island near Harrisburg, Pennsylvania led to a partial meltdown.

**

And that's the way it is in Birdland on March 28 - or at least, unless ssomething happens later, which it could, because they have to make those roster cuts sooner or later. Have a safe Tuesday.