Orioles manager Brandon Hyde’s disinterest in his club tying last year’s win total seems to be shared by his players.
Reaching 47 wasn’t a magic number. It doesn’t hold any real importance.
“I don’t think it does at all,” said Trey Mancini. “I don’t really think it’s anything that should be celebrated too much. I saw what Brandon said last night and I agree with him. We can celebrate when we win 95 games.
“Last year, everything that went wrong did and I guess you could say it is good this year. On paper, probably not as talented a roster as we had opening day last year if you just look at who we had. We had Manny (Machado), Schoop (Jonathan Schoop), (Zach) Britton, several people. We played better than last year, but again, it’s not that difficult to do. And I don’t think it’s really anything ... we won’t be popping any champagne bottles in here if we surpass last year’s win total.
“I’m right there with what Hyder said last night. I think you save that for when you really win something.”
Mancini appreciated his manager’s restraint and the mindset that settling for slightly better isn’t acceptable.
“Not even getting to 50 wins last year, that’s really tough and I’m right there with him. I fall in line with that train of thought,” Mancini said.
“You’ve got to aim higher than that. Obviously, it’s the first year of the rebuild and all that and hopefully we keep getting more wins every year and the trend continues. This year, we’ll have more than last year and hopefully that keeps continuing until we have a winning record and are competing for a division title.
“You kind of stay on course and the ultimate goal should be winning your division. Obviously we’re a little bit of time away from that, but yeah, I’m right there with him with what he said last night.”
Hyde didn’t soften his stance today.
Tying last year’s win total “doesn’t matter to me,” he said. “I just want us to get better. I just want to play well and for us to continue to improve. I want to win as many games as possible to end the season. So whatever that win and loss is, I want to be better next year. A lot better. And I want to be a lot better the year after that.
“If it’s 100 losses or 104, does that matter? For me it’s a different team, it’s a different year. I just want to get better every year. I want to finish the season strong and be a lot better next year.”
There’s importance to these remaining 16 games that isn’t about the 2018 team. The wins are important. The performance level is important.
“I care,” he said. “It matters a lot to me how we play. I want to see us play hard and compete until the last inning of the last game. It’s really important to me and I think the message has been sent to our players and I think they’re going to do that.
“We have two and a half weeks to go and we can still improve. We have so much room to improve. Defensively, baserunning, all those types of things that we’ve had some mistakes especially lately on the bases, I’d love to see us clean up the last couple weeks of the year. I want to see our guys get better and our coaching staff feels the same way.
“We’re going to continue to grind and see this out.”
Hyde left a contender in Chicago to join the rebuild. He has no regrets going from bench coach to manager, of course, but he’s adjusting to a life that no longer includes an obsession over the standings.
“It’s a lot different,” he said. “You’re scoreboard watching right now. And even though you’re saying that you’re only focused on your team and tonight’s game, you’re very aware of what’s happening around the league and in your division. So, yeah, I miss that. That’s a lot of fun playing meaningful games this late in the year.
“It’s like the way these guys (Dodgers) played two nights ago. The magic number was one and they win, they’re in. You could just see from the get-go they wanted it to be two nights ago. You could hear their dugout, you could see. That’s when it’s fun, when you’re like that. And I’ve been fortunate to be on some pretty good clubs that played meaningful games into October. That’s where you want to be.”
For the Dodgers
Joc Pederson RF
Matt Beaty 3B
A.J. Pollock DH
Cody Bellinger 1B
Corey Seager SS
Chris Taylor LF
Gavin Lux 2B
Enrique Hernández CF
Russell Martin C
Rich Hill LHP