Notes on finishing above .500, Baumann, Henderson, Mullins, Means, and more

The Orioles can run their win total to 80 games tonight, leaving them two away from finishing on the right side of .500.

It hasn’t happened since 2016, three years before Brandon Hyde’s first season as manager.

“Definitely think you want to finish with a winning record,” Hyde said. “That is important. I’m hoping we don’t stop at 82. I want to win as many games as we can toward the end of the year and see where we are at the end of the year.”

Mike Baumann won’t be expected to extend the streak of starters recording at least 8 2/3 innings. He isn’t stretched out to the point where he can join Jordan Lyles, Kyle Bradish and Dean Kremer.

“There’s going to have to be a lot of first-pitch swinging,” Hyde said. “Let’s hope they come out aggressive and we get a lot of rollovers, popups.”

The Orioles have posted back-to-back shutouts on three occasions this season, the most since 2012. The last time they had three shutouts in a row was 1995, when they did it in five consecutive games.

Gunnar Henderson is out of the lineup against Astros left-hander Framber Valdez. Hyde said it’s just a day off. Henderson could appear later in the game.

Cedric Mullins is batting leadoff and playing center field, his appearances against lefties increasing a bit despite his .199/.260/.292 slash line.

“Framber’s tough against lefties and righties, so it’s a tough challenge from both sides,” Hyde said.

“Ced had a nice year last year, try to give him some breaks against left-handed pitching a little bit this year. Just looking for a spark against left-handed pitching, and hopefully Ced can get on base for us a couple times tonight.”

Left-hander John Means has rejoined the club during the homestand. Nothing much to update, other than his rehab from Tommy John surgery is going “extremely well,” Hyde said.

“He’s in great spirits. Good to see him in the weight room here. Looks great. He’s really happy with how it’s progressing. Always great to have him back.”

The Orioles are celebrating the 45th anniversary of Brooks Robinson’s retirement by creating another “Thanks Brooks Day” tonight. The Hall of Famer will greet fans as he’s driven around the warning track, recreating the scene at Memorial Stadium in 1977.

Hyde has his own special memories of Robinson.

“The day I was hired, he was in the manager’s office and met him for the first time,” Hyde said. “In the press conference, he was sitting in the first row with my family, and he was so nice to me and my family. It was a great, great impression. This legend, how open he was and how friendly and welcoming. I’ll always remember that.”

One of the perks of working for the Orioles is the interactions with baseball greats like Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Eddie Murray and Jim Palmer.

“We’re very fortunate to do what we do, and one of the unbelievable things is we get to meet really cool people along the way,” Hyde said.

“Those are special moments for me and our players and coaches and everybody involved, just because those are legends, and those are heroes, so I’ve been really fortunate in my years to meet some really, really cool people.”

The past blends into the present when Ryan Mountcastle sets the rookie home run record and Adley Rutschman ties Ripken’s mark for doubles in a season.

“That means we’re getting some talented young players, and we’re getting guys that are going to do some special things, because they have a lot of ability,” Hyde said.

“You look at our roster right now, we’ve got a lot of inexperience, but we’re way more talented than we have been in the past. We’re going to continue to be more talented going forward.”

Trey Mancini is out of the Astros’ lineup tonight.

For the Astros
José Altuve 2B
Jeremy Pena SS
Yordan Álvarez DH
Alex Bregman 3B
Kyle Tucker RF
Yuli Gurriel 1B
Chas McCormick CF
Mauricio Dubón LF
Martín Maldonado C

Framber Valdez LHP

The Astros are starting Cristian Javier on Sunday. The spot had been TBD.

Here are the Orioles and Red Sox starters for next week’s series in Boston:

Monday: Jordan Lyles vs. Connor Seabold
Tuesday: Kyle Bradish vs. Michael Wacha
Wednesday: Dean Kremer vs. Rich Hill
Thursday: TBA vs. TBA

O's game blog: Mike Baumann faces Houston in Game ...
Trey Mancini: Astros quite impressed with Bradish ...

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