In postgame clubhouse there was disappointment but also excitement for future

ARLINGTON, Texas - For the Orioles there was sort of a clear theme to their postgame interviews last night after the Game 3 loss to Texas. The Rangers took an early 6-0 lead on their way to a 7-1 win and a series sweep in the American League Division Series.

Proud of a very good season and AL East championship. But also hoping and truly believing this is just the first step for this talented group of players.

They got swept three straight by Texas and the country didn't get to see the Orioles that we saw most of the year. Take the experience and learn from it. Use it as motivation to return next season and go farther.

"We have a lot of guys who have never been to the postseason before. So, this hurts and it's okay to hurt," manager Brandon Hyde said. "It's okay to have this kind of fuel to your fire in the off-season. It's going to take a while for us to get over this a little bit. But I think our guys will come in hunting and hungry in spring training. The guys coming back, especially the young guys, know what this feels like, know what it tastes like, and it sucks. If they did soak it in a little bit, they're going to be better for it down the road."

Outfielder Austin Hays expressed similar sentiments. I asked him when he has time this offseason to look back on the 2023 season, what will come to mind?

“I really think down the stretch, when we were pushing to win the division, just how fun that really was. To be in that place after where we had been the last couple of years. I think that is what I’ll remember the most about this season. How special it was. That series against the Rays, that was such a fun series late in the year.

“And just how much fun we had as a team this year. It really was the most fun I’ve ever had in a Locker room, and it was an amazing season all around," said Hays.

"We grew a lot last year in the summer months. Everything about the organization turned around completely and it filtered right into this season. We were able to win our division, so going into next year that is what we are going to expect out of ourselves. Now we have turned the tables here and we expect to win. To get back here next year and make a run all the way to the end," Hays added.

But after taking so many forward steps this year and winning 101 games to now lose in three straight on the big stage and by a combined score of 19-9 the last two games is hard.

“Yeah, I mean there is no other way to put it. They kicked our ass. It sucks. Just couldn’t really get anything going or get momentum on our side to get things rolling. It hurts, it really hurts," said Hays.

Pitcher Kyle Gibson, who will be a free agent this winter, was asked how much he would like to return next year?

“I mean, relationships are what makes this game special," Gibson said. "I have a feeling, no matter where I am, if I pick up the phone and call one of these guys, they’ll answer, and we’ll say hello. We’ll cross paths sometime. I’d love to be back here. It’s been a lot of fun, but I know there are plans outside of my control.

“You normally only get to do something with that one group one time. There is always somebody not there. Always somebody added that makes the group different. You know you try to savor these moments because this team for the most part will never be together again. I think we did a real good job maximizing the fun and the relationships we have. These guys will be friends for a long time, whether I’m on their team or not. It’s a really good group.”

Gibson agreed that coming short this year might just serve to spur the team further in the years ahead.

Was this the first step?

“Yeah, I think it could be," he said. "I’m excited for a lot of these guys that they got to experience this. Because it’s a lot of fun. Sure, we didn’t come out on the right end, but you get a little taste of this and get a feeling of what it’s like. It motivates you a little bit.

"There will be guys here next year that have this feeling in their mind whenever they get ready to go in October. It’s a group that will be good for a while. There are high expectations for this group. That is why we did so well this year. We had high expectations for ourselves when maybe people didn’t think it was our time. It was our time for 162 games, it just wasn’t for the postseason."

Mullins on his struggles:  O's center fielder Cedric Mullins went 0-for-12 in the ALDS and just 2-for-45 his last 14 games, counting the postseason.

In the postgame clubhouse he indicated that while he was healthy enough to play late in the year, the two groin injuries he dealt with that sent him twice to the injured list, impacted his performance at the end of this season. 

“Nagging injuries throughout the year definitely hurts performance," said Mullins. "I look back on some of these games and had some hard-hit balls but couldn’t get anything to fall. Had some soft liners, some hard liners, hard groundballs and couldn’t get nothing going. You can call it a slump. I tried to put at-bats together. Felt like I did that pretty well, couldn’t get anything to fall."

So, the injuries impacted your batting?

“100 percent," said Mullins. "My game is in my legs and for me to have two leg injuries in basically back-to-back months takes its toll. Things start to compensate, and other areas start to hurt and get tight. You know, offseason is really focused on healing, the healing process, regardless of how long it takes. Then get those areas strengthened and then I don’t have to bother with it again."

But Mullins said there was not a possibility late in the year that he would miss time or be a candidate for a third injured list stint.

“No. I think, you know, guys play banged up. That is kind of how it is. It wasn’t just me. A lot of guys were playing banged up come this part of the season. So, comes with the territory, you learn how to deal with it. If it was unmanageable, I wouldn’t be playing. But it was manageable enough for me to still move around pretty well," he said. 



Leftover thoughts and observations from the ALDS
Losing the ALDS doesn't erase the good that came o...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to