Monday Bird Droppings: The AL East gauntlet continues


Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It turns out that it’s a lot harder to win games against the AL East than against unimpressive clubs from lesser divisions. Who knew?

The Orioles, after rattling off a 10-game winning streak in which nine of the victories were against sub-.500 clubs, have now lost two consecutive series since their return to intradivision play. The Birds dropped two of three in Tampa Bay prior to the All-Star break and opened the second half with two more losses to MLB’s best team, the Yankees. Mark Brown recapped yesterday’s rubber game loss, 6-0, a rare blowout defeat for an O’s club that is normally competitive to the end. Before yesterday, the Orioles hadn’t lost a game all month by more than two runs.

The unforgiving AL East slate continues with four more games against the Rays starting tonight, this time in Baltimore. The O’s have been pretty evenly matched with Tampa Bay this year, winning five out of 12 games, including four of six at Camden Yards. As always, though, they’ll be in for a fight.

Get used to it. As the O’s hope to continue their progression from a decent team to a good team — and, eventually, a great team — they’ll need to prove they can beat the teams in their own division, year in and year out. Given the caliber of their AL East opponents, it’ll be no easy feat.

Links

Orioles lose to Yankees, 6-0; Kremer allows Judge’s 37th home run; Team fully vaccinated – BaltimoreBaseball.com
With previous holdouts Anthony Santander and Keegan Akin now vaccinated, kudos to the Orioles for having every player on the 40-man roster get the shot. That’s no easy feat, as other teams have shown. (Looking at you, Royals.)

Ramón Urías: A hitter on a heater right now – Steve Melewski
The red-hot Ramón Urias isn’t doing anything markedly different at the plate than earlier this season, but the hits are finally starting to fall in. Remember how the Orioles picked up this guy for nothing on a waiver claim? One of Mike Elias’s shrewder moves, for sure.

Inside the Orioles clubhouse, a sudoku competition rages between Anthony Santander and Jorge Mateo – The Baltimore Sun
Apparently a couple of Orioles like to do nerdy puzzles in their spare time, and for the first time in my life, I have something in common with a professional athlete.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Former Orioles born on this day are right-hander Doug Drapek (60) and the late lefty Mickey Scott (b. 1947, d. 2011) and first baseman Whitey Lockman (b. 1926, d. 2009).

The Orioles have only a 24-35 record all-time on July 25, but they have won six of their last seven games played on this date after losing 12 of their previous 13. That includes four victories in their last at-bat: a Chris Davis 10th-inning homer that beat the Mariners in 2014, a walkoff error to beat the Rockies in 2016, a ninth-inning comeback to complete a sweep of the Nationals last year, and the instant classic in 2019 in which infielder Stevie Wilkerson recorded a save in a 10-8, 16-inning marathon in Anaheim.

On this day in 2020, the Orioles notched their first win of the truncated 60-game season, jumping out to a 5-0 lead after two innings and cruising to a 7-2 victory in Boston. The Orioles’ 1-5 hitters combined for nine hits and six RBIs, while starter Alex Cobb, making his first start in 15 months, held the Red Sox to one run in 5.1 innings.

And on this date in 1999, mercurial slugger Albert Belle crushed three home runs in an 8-7, 10-inning win over the Angels. Belle’s second and third blasts — a three-run shot in the seventh, and a game-tying dinger with two outs in the ninth — helped the O’s rally back from a four-run deficit. In the 10th, Belle was hit by a pitch but refused to leave the batter’s box, wanting a chance to be a walkoff hero. After several minutes of debating, he finally took his base, and Cal Ripken Jr. won the game with an RBI single three batters later.

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