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Thursday Bird Droppings: The Orioles sweepless streak survived in dramatic fashion

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Hello, friends.

The Orioles…? Somehow, they’re still doing this thing in the month of May even as they are putting up largely putrid numbers on offense. The team is batting .220 for the month, dropping a .284 OBP, and despite these facts, the O’s have an 8-4 record up to this point in May. It’s unquestionably a concerning trend and something that the O’s are going to need to figure out in order to keep having success. For now, I think it’s a great sign that they’re able to keep winning games even when they aren’t playing at their best.

Wednesday afternoon’s game was one of the more dramatic ways, if not the most dramatic way, that the Orioles have preserved the sweepless streak since it began. On MASN, Kevin Brown noted that yesterday’s date marked two years since the last time the O’s had been swept in a regular season series, that three-game sweep at the hands of the Tigers which seemed so galling at the time because the Tigers weren’t even good.

For most of the game, it seemed like there would be no way to overcome the coincidence of that history aligning and the streak ending two years to the day. Instead, the Orioles kept it close even while failing to score in frustrating ways and eventually, Adley Rutschman hit a home run that just barely cleared the boundary above the out-of-town scoreboard in right field, a two-run walkoff shot that sent everyone home. Check out Paul Folkemer’s recap of the game for more on what abruptly turned into lovely totals.

The Orioles could probably use today’s off day since multiple players were banged up over the course of Wednesday’s win. Anthony Santander banged his knee into the wall after failing to make a catch that he should have made – a play that was responsible for both of the game’s Blue Jays runs scoring. Santander’s knee soreness increased, manager Brandon Hyde said, after a slide on the bases later in the game.

Also ailing is Austin Hays, who you may recall only just returned from the injured list due to a calf injury. Hyde told Orioles reporters after Wednesday’s game that Hays was removed after delivering a pinch-hit double because he is still battling some soreness in that calf. This was apparently the case even on Monday as Hays was activated.

Why, then, did the team activate Hays if he’s not ready to fully go? Why did it not leave him on his rehab assignment in Bowie? Why even send him out on a rehab assignment if the calf soreness was still present? It’s not like there was a pressing need to try to get Hays and his .368 OPS number back into the Orioles lineup.

I don’t understand this decisionmaking process. It hasn’t hurt the team yet, and maybe it never will, but it’s weird, just like using the 2024 version of Ramón Urías as a pinch hitter in any circumstance is weird. That really happened yesterday. Of course it didn’t work in the moment.

All of the Wednesday drama allowed the Orioles to maintain their position in the AL East. Later on, the Yankees shut out the Twins in Minnesota, keeping their half-game lead over the O’s. The Yankees had beaten Minnesota on Tuesday while the O’s were rained out to give themselves that slim lead. They’ll try to make it a full game lead – or fail and fall back into a tie – with a 1:10 contest. Clarke Schmidt (2.95 ERA in 8 GS) and Joe Ryan (3.21 ERA in 8 GS) are the scheduled starting pitchers.

As for the Orioles, they’ll next be in action on Friday night at 7:05 as the Mariners come into town. Seattle is off today as well.

Around the blogO’sphere

Hyde offers explanation for Westburg leading off, Henderson cleanup in Wednesday lineup (School of Roch)
Westburg batting leadoff was something of an odd look, but since he hit a leadoff homer, it had some quick payoff. Could we see this happen more against lefty starters, like yesterday’s Yusei Kikuchi?

How the Rule 5 saga helped shape Anthony Santander’s career (The Baltimore Banner)
This week marks six years since Santander hit the 90 day mark that allowed the team to option him to the minors, an occasion they marked by immediately optioning him. I’ve got to say that the 2018 version of me did not expect to ever see him again.

Matthew Etzel thriving in Orioles minor league system (Orioles.com)
Last year’s tenth round draft pick entered yesterday with a .309/.400/.455 batting line for the season, and he’s also stolen 19 bases. It’s not a power-hitting profile, but these are interesting results with High-A Aberdeen.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

Today in 1965, Jim Palmer was the winning pitcher for the first time in his career as the Orioles beat the Yankees, 7-5. This was his seventh career game. He had another 267 regular season wins coming before the end of his career.

There are a few former Orioles who were born on this day. They are: 2018 infielder Luis Sardiñas, 2000 infielder Ivanon Coffie, and 1955-56/61 utility man Dave Philley.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: Alaska purchaser William Seward (1801), actor Henry Fonda (1905), historian Studs Terkel (1912), pianist Liberace (1919), singer-songwriter Janet Jackson (1966), and actress Megan Fox (1986).

On this day in history…

In 1842, the first wagon train set out from Missouri along what we now call the Oregon Trail. You might have played the computer game and had some pixels named after your friends or enemies die of dysentery.

In 1929, the first Academy Awards ceremony was held in Hollywood. The next edition of the awards will be the 97th.

In 1975, a Japanese woman named Junko Tabei ascended Mount Everest, becoming the first woman to reach the summit.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on May 16. Have a safe Thursday.

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