Orioles manager Brandon Hyde can read the statistics. He can stand in the dugout and watch the innings and at-bats. The stuff that’s laid out for everybody.
Sometimes, it’s the little things that grab his attention. That don’t directly impact a 13-1 win but stand out as much as the home runs and strikeouts.
José Iglesias convinced Hyde that he could play Thursday night in Boston. He took batting practice again and lobbied for his inclusion in the lineup as the designated hitter.
The preference to shut down would have been understandable, considering how Iglesias has spent the entire season receiving treatment on his left quadriceps muscle and had a precautionary X-ray on his shin. A Charlie Morton fastball dug into his left wrist last week.
Iglesias is battered, but he won’t leave on his own.
Hyde removed Iglesias for a pinch-hitter in the eighth with the Orioles comfortably ahead - two innings after the veteran almost beat out a ground ball to third base as if the outcome depended on it.
A home run in the fourth didn’t get as much notice as how Iglesias busted it up the line.
“I’m at a loss for words a little bit of what I’ve seen from a veteran guy that has been playing banged up since we started the year here two months ago and what he’s done for our team, what he’s shown our young players,” Hyde said in his Zoom conference call.
“He’s been playing with the quad, now the wrist and the foul ball off the shin and wants to be in the lineup. We talk daily. And I’ve just been so impressed with him as a professional. Knowing him for 11 years now and seeing the growth, the man that he has become, it’s really cool and it’s been a lot of fun for me. I like watching him play. I wish he could play shortstop every day right now this year, but the leg hasn’t allowed it.
“We’re different with him on the field and we’re different with him in the lineup every day. And he takes four really good at-bats every single day, and what he shows on the bases, his instincts, it’s been a lot of fun.”
Iglesias was the designated hitter again last night and homered, making another painful trip around the bases. Each step was painful to watch.
He was my choice for Most Valuable Oriole based on his career year at the plate, his fielding and the major drop-off when he wasn’t in the lineup, but I had no issues with Anthony Santander winning the award.
You could make the same arguments for him. His oblique strain was a huge blow to the Orioles. And he was the runaway favorite for MVO before his placement on the injured list.
I won’t crush anyone here, though I chirped a little on Twitter, but I get the sense that some voters watched only a handful of games or turned in their ballots in August.
The press box was mostly vacant this summer, but the games have been broadcast on television and radio. The internet allows for simple statistical searches.
And number of games, even in a weird, truncated season, should be taken into consideration if it’s an extremely low total. Like, say, under 10.
But I’m not crushing anyone here.