Gibson on trade deadline: "If we don't make a massive splash, I think this team is really good"

TORONTO - After he threw yet another quality start for the Orioles last night - as they beat Toronto in the series opener - right-hander Kyle Gibson discussed today's trade deadline.

He told reporters if nothing big happens today, he is fine with it. He loves the current group in the Orioles' clubhouse and sees enough talent there right now to keep winning.

“In 2018 we (the Twins) traded away eight players at the deadline," he said. "Never seen that many traded away. And at the time, we might have been three games out of the wild card. There are teams that absolutely need to play well around the deadline, but I don’t think this is one of those teams. I think we just want to play well to keep going in the right direction.”

He said it's important that players have been able to block out any deadline distractions this year.

“Very important. It’s easy to look around and see moves and get anxious, get antsy. Wait to see where the dominoes will fall for us. Do we have needs? Sure. Are there players that could make our team better? Sure. But I think we have a really darn good team and if we don’t make this massive splash, I think this team is really good. I think the Fuji trade (adding Shintaro Fujinami) is really big for us. The flexibility he adds in the bullpen is huge.

“But I mean, it is definitely more difficult to keep your mind off it. Because you look around the league and there are teams more active than others. But we’re really confident in what we have.”

The Orioles keep pulling out close games and last night's 4-2 win, another O's game that went down to the final pitch, felt like it had a chance to unravel several times, but it never did. In the end the team needed every early game clutch hit they got, every fantastic defensive play, Gibson's start and Félix Bautista's 35-pitch save.

A reporter asked manager Brandon Hyde after the win what has separated his team from other AL East clubs?

“Well, it’s not our run differential," Hyde quipped. "I don’t know. We have some guys that are having lights out years in the backend of the ‘pen. We have the best closer in baseball. He showed why tonight. Feel like when there are games we win, we just score enough. We compete. The guys come ready to play, they like to play and they pull for each other.”

The Orioles have won three of four, six of nine, eight of 12 and 16 of the last 22 games. 

They are 6-1 against Toronto allowing just 23 runs in those games. The O's lead the AL East by 1.5 games over Tampa Bay for the sixth consecutive day.

One more win in this series would mean the Orioles extend their streak to 10 straight non-losing AL East series. Heading into Toronto they were 7-0-2 their past nine division series going 19-9 in those games.

For this O's team, every challenge is met, everyone AL East team they seem to beat.

The Blue Jays were 14-7 the past 21 games and playing .600 ball the past 55 games. Then they lost to the Orioles again and are 0-4 at Rogers Centre against Baltimore.

With Bautista on his way to the 35-pitch save last night, left fielder Austin Hays made one of the plays of the year. A flat-out dive to his glove side to rob Whit Merrifield with one out and two on in the ninth. An incredible game-saving catch. Bautista got his 29th save. If outfielders could get saves, Hays deserved one.

“That is probably as far as I’ll be able to catch one over toward center field. Félix throws hard, Whit likes to go the other way and we were shifted way over. He hit that ball right between us. I know it was far away when I dove. So was going to have to do a swim move there in the air to get an extra couple feet there at the end.

“That’s gotta be No. 1 (on his all-time great catches list) just with the situation in the game. Yeah, I’d say that’s the best catch I’ve ever made.”

The 2023 Orioles. A lot of drama but a lot of close wins. Now 33-17 (.660) in games decided by two runs or less - that is the best record in the majors in such games.

Bautista has not allowed a run over his past 13 games, going 3-0 with nine saves in nine chances with an ERA of 0.00. In 16 innings he has allowed six hits with four walks and 30 strikeouts. Opponents has a slugging percentage of .115 with an OPS of .308 in that span.

Complete dominance. The guy has been incredibly important to this team.

“As important as anybody can be to any team," said Hays. "Our offense doesn’t blow people out. We play a lot of close games like this. … For him to get five outs tonight, that’s a tough lineup. He’s as valuable as anyone can be to a team.”

And now we await the final hours leading up to the 6 p.m. deadline.

“I guess we’ll see. You never know what can happen, especially the last day. I’ll show up and be ready to play in the game, but we’ll see what happens," said Hays. 

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