Hyde on Alberto, Smith, Bundy, rotation and more (O’s up 4-2)

The Orioles are going with a short bench tonight against the Nationals while Hanser Alberto is with his wife Olga for the birth of their daughter.

Manager Brandon Hyde said he wants to give Alberto a few days, including Thursday with an open date on the schedule. Alberto is expected back Friday and the Orioles won’t put him on the paternity leave list.

“Big day for Hanser and his family and his wife,” Hyde said. “I haven’t heard the news yet, but she’s expecting today and we’re excited for them. I know he was nervous and excited last night. Hope everything works out great and probably see him Friday.

“I told him to take the time that he needs. Should be with his wife and his baby today, so we’ll go from there.”

Smith-Hits-White-sidebar.jpgDwight Smith Jr. is on the bench tonight while mired in an 0-for-30 slump. It appears to be a combination of mental and physical issues that are holding him back.

“Just pressing,” Hyde said. “It looks like he’s just trying a little too hard. He got on the concussion protocol list and ever since then tough time finding the rhythm. Looks like he’s trying too hard to me. So I wanted to give him a day, roll into the off-day tomorrow and give him two days.

“He’s also battling some aches and pains a little bit that he’s trying to play through and that’s not helping, but at the same time, he’s just pressing like a lot of people do and it’s natural. And hoping that he comes out of it soon.”

Aaron Brooks is on a pitch count tonight in the 40-50 range after throwing 32 in his last start. Gabriel Ynoa will follow him to the mound.

Brooks could start again Monday night in Arizona and Dylan Bundy is expected to come off the injured list the following day and make the start.

Bundy threw in the bullpen today and his knee is pain-free since the cortisone injection.

“He should be on track to make that start when he comes off the IL,” Hyde said.

Hyde indicated that Ynoa could get another chance in the rotation if there’s a need because he’s started in the past and is stretched out. There’s room for flexibility, which is why Hyde said he’s “kind of playing it by ear right now.”

“We have options,” he said.

Hyde said we’ll see more of Renato Núñez in the field over the second half. He keeps taking ground balls during batting practice.

Núñez has made nine starts at first base and played one inning at third and one in left field. He’s been the designated hitter in 73 games.

“He’s working on his defense every single day even though I’m not putting him out there,” Hyde said. “His defense is a priority and you’re going to start seeing him play more on the field defensively.

“He’s obviously shown some big power and I think he’s still finding his way as a hitter a little bit. I think he can improve as a hitter. His batting practice is one of the best that you’re going to see, where he just drives the ball, two-irons into right-center. Really stays in the middle of the field, and at times during the games, he gets a little quick and it looks like he’s trying to go pull-side power and we all feel like once he really commits himself to the middle part of the plate, which he does on occasion, that it’s going to open up the field for him even more and become an even better hitter.

“I think that’s going to happen here shortly. But I think he still has a lot of room to progress and he’s having a nice year.”

Ravens quarterback Lamar Jackson and former University of Maryland safety Darnell Savage, first-round pick of the Packers, are throwing out the ceremonial first pitches tonight.

For the Nationals
Trea Turner SS
Adam Eaton RF
Anthony Rendon 3B
Juan Soto LF
Howie Kendrick DH
Matt Adams 1B
Brian Dozier 2B
Victor Robles CF
Yan Gomes C

Erick Fedde RHP

Update: Adam Eaton’s sacrifice fly in the third inning gave the Nationals a 1-0 lead. Brooks lasted 2 2/3 innings again and threw 56 pitches.

Update II: Trey Mancini homered in the fourth to tie the game 1-1.

Update III: Two-out doubles by Trea Turner and Eaton off Ynoa in the fifth gave the Nats a 2-1 lead.

Update IV: Anthony Santander and Chris Davis had RBI singles in the seventh and Rio Ruiz added a sacrifice fly for a 4-2 lead.

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