The Orioles are about to begin a pivotal road trip

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

The early results are in, and it looks like the second half of the Orioles’ season will be just as exciting as the first. The club opened its post All-Star break slate by winning four of seven games at Camden Yards against two tough AL East foes, the Yankees and Rays. The O’s capped off the successful homestand on one of the wildest plays in recent memory, Trey Mancini’s improbable inside-the-park home run in perhaps his final home at-bat as an Oriole. Check out my game recap for all the glorious details, and don’t forget to vote in the Most Birdland Player poll (spoiler: it’s Trey Mancini).

So, where do the Orioles go from here? We know, of course, where they’re physically going — to Cincinnati for three games, then Texas for three more — but more to the point, in which direction will the front office take the team? Will the Orioles stay the course and trade off veterans, such as Mancini, Anthony Santander, Jorge López, or someone else? Will they decide to stay the course as much as possible and see if this current roster can remain in the postseason hunt? Would they even consider (gasp) adding youngish veteran players who could boost the team this season and in the near future? We’ll find out in the coming days.

In the meanwhile, the O’s, currently three games back of the Rays for the final Wild Card spot, have a golden opportunity to pick up some ground in the playoff race over the next week. While they’re playing the last-place Reds and also-ran Rangers, almost every other team in the Wild Card chase — the Blue Jays, Mariners, Rays, Guardians, and Red Sox — will play at least three games against over-. 500 clubs in that span.

Regardless of what the Orioles’ roster looks like by the end of this road trip, they have a great chance to keep racking up the wins and making a postseason push. Who among us thought that would even be a possibility by July?

Links

Mancini salutes crowd, Mo after emotional inside-the-parker- MLB.com
You can just feel the love that all of Trey Mancini’s teammates have for him. I will understand it from a baseball sense if the Orioles trade him, but man, it’ll be a sad day.

Baltimore Orioles are surging ahead of trade deadline – The Washington Post
Chelsea Janes astutely breaks down the challenge the front office faces over the next week: how to balance the value of trading veteran players with the value of maintaining a harmonious, upbeat clubhouse atmosphere. I’m glad it’s not my job to make these decisions.

Bust the process: Rebuilt Baltimore Orioles’ bright future arrives ahead of schedule – USA Today
Current and former Orioles alike have nothing but praise for the Orioles’ brain trust, management, and coaching staff. That seems good!

The Orioles Are Not Just A One-Streak Wonder | FiveThirtyEight
Brian Menendez busts out the stats to explain just how good — and improbably so — the Orioles have been over the last 2+ months. I will never get tired of the national media’s sudden excitement about the Orioles.

Connolly: Jackson Holliday has all the tools, but not as much pressure as Orioles’ new No. 1 – The Athletic
Dan Connolly writes that Holliday can be a successful player even if he’s not a superstar but just a “JJ Hardy with speed.” I’m sorry, but that’s an almost impossible level of handsomeness to try to live up to.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! No player in Orioles history was born on July 29. Sorry.

The Orioles’ last win on this date came in 2018, a season in which any O’s victory was a rarity. The O’s clubbed the Rays at Camden Yards, 11-5, with every Oriole in the lineup collecting at least one hit. Chris Davis, in the midst of a historically abysmal season, homered twice. The O’s also have hit three walkoff home runs on this date, with Dick Brown’s two-run shot off Mickey Lolich sealing a 2-1 over the Tigers in 1963, Brooks Robinson’s 11th-inning blast beating Cleveland in 1972, and Manny Machado crushing a 12th-inning homer in 2014 to upend the Angels.

The Orioles have made a bunch of trades on this day in history. Most notably, in 1988, the Orioles traded veteran right-hander Mike Boddicker to the Red Sox for prospects Brady Anderson and Curt Schilling. Though Boddicker, an Orioles Hall of Famer, had a stellar career and won a World Series in Baltimore, the deal was a big win for the Birds. Anderson became an O’s Hall of Famer himself, clubbing 209 homers and notching a club-record 307 stolen bases, while Schilling had a Cooperstown-worthy career (if only the O’s hadn’t foolishly dealt him in the Glenn Davis trade long before that) .

And on this date in 2010, the Orioles officially hired Buck Showalter as their new manager, finally ushering in an era of greatness for a franchise that had long been lacking it. Showalter took over a team that was 32-73 and led them to a 34-23 record the rest of the way, then snapped the Orioles’ 14-year losing streak and presided over three O’s postseason clubs in the next six years.

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