BOSTON - The final Orioles lineup of the 2019 season will be posted later this morning.
We’ve moved past penultimate. The word is placed in storage until the next-to-last exhibition game unless someone is bold enough to break it out on the Wednesday of baseball’s Winter Meetings.
The lineup is going to include Mark Trumbo, playing his last game with the club and perhaps in his career. Anthony Santander is expected to sit again, having already completed his mission of getting back to the majors and positioning himself for a job next spring.
No matter what happens this afternoon, the Orioles can’t do any worse than 108 losses - seven fewer than last season. They’ll go for their first sweep since Aug. 27-29, 2018 against the Blue Jays.
The 222 combined losses in the past two seasons rank fourth in major league history for back-to-back campaigns, according to STATS research. The 1962-63 Mets lost 231 games, the 1915-16 Philadelphia Athletics 226 and the 2002-03 Tigers 225.
The Orioles stay ahead of the 1964-65 Mets, who totaled 221 losses in that span.
Players appear to be waiting until they get back home to reflect on the season. There’s one last game to play and a bunch of goodbyes before they scatter.
Some of them on the team charter, others on separate flights.
“I think, usually, whenever you get a week in the offseason you start really thinking more about it,” said Trey Mancini.
“From a team perspective, I’ll look back and I think we’ve made a lot of strides and guys have gotten some valuable experience, which is very important in the first year of a rebuild. I definitely think we could have won a lot more games than we did, and I’m hoping this year taught us a lot and can help us going into next year, winning those close games. I’m not sure what our record is in one- and two-run games, but if we can kind of reverse it, I feel like we’ll really be going in the right direction.
“I’ve been really excited about a lot of the guys who came up. They showed that they belong here, and that’s huge. So I’m definitely excited about a lot of things going on here.”
In addition to his clothes and equipment, Mancini has a few accolades to take home, including Most Valuable Oriole.
“From a personal level, I’m very happy with how I did, the strides I made as a player, and I think I can make some more strides as a leader, too, which we’ve talked about previously,” he said.
“I definitely feel good about a lot of things going into the offseason.”
There’s going to be more change. Everyone knows it.
The only question is to what extent. How far the reach.
“It does every year, no matter what team you’re on,” Mancini said. “You’re not going to have the exact same guys that end the season in spring training. But I think, by and large, most of the guys will be back next spring, and I’m looking forward to getting it going in February.”