John Means is playing catch down in Sarasota, Fla. and slowly building on his throwing progression, but Orioles manager Brandon Hyde doesn’t anticipate having his ace in the rotation to close out the first half.
Hyde said Means, on the injured list with a strained left shoulder, will start throwing side sessions when cleared to increase his activities.
“I would expect him at some point right after the All-Star break,” Hyde said during today’s media Zoom call.
Means can’t be considered for the All-Star team while injured. He hasn’t pitched since lasting two-thirds of an inning on June 5 against the Indians and is 4-2 with a 2.28 ERA and 0.831 WHIP in 12 starts.
The Orioles haven’t won on the road since Means’ no-hitter on May 5 in Seattle. They’ve lost 19 in a row, the second-longest streak in the majors this season behind the Diamondbacks (23).
The 19 straight road losses are tied for the third-most in American League history. The Orioles will try to avoid passing the 1945 Philadelphia Athletics tonight.
“We just have not played good on the road the past month and a half or whatever it is,” Hyde said. “I don’t feel like it’s different than last year or two years ago. There’s nothing special that’s happening on the road that’s different, so I don’t know the reason.”
The current trip stretches to 10 games in three cities, another daunting task, but Hyde doesn’t want his players looking too far down the road, so to speak.
“It’s the old cliché but it is one day at a time,” Hyde said. “Tonight we’ve got Dean Kremer facing (Anthony) Kay, and we’ll look at tomorrow’s matchups tomorrow. But we haven’t played very good baseball, honestly, lately. It’s been a while since we’ve put together a string of good, well-played games. Something we’ve been talking a lot about. We just need to start playing better baseball and give ourselves more of a chance to win some games.”
The issues aren’t confined to the road, of course. The Orioles have lost five in a row and 13 of their last 14. They’re 12-26 at home and 11-25 away from it.
Suitcases and travel itineraries aren’t the only attachments to their struggles.
Each day and the start of a new series are touted inside the clubhouse as a reboot, a topic that came up again today in an advance meeting.
“Just turn the page,” Hyde said. “Yesterday was awful and let’s turn the page and try to play better baseball tonight.”
Hyde said again today that Rule 5 pick Tyler Wells could move into the rotation later in the summer. It isn’t too late and Wells could be stretched out. But the club doesn’t have any immediate plans to change his role.
“I wouldn’t rule anything out right now, but I think it’s definitely a possibility. You never know what’s going to happen the rest of the year, but we’re comfortable where he is right now getting the experience that he is in the bullpen,” Hyde said.
“He’s starting to pitch in some big spots in games and I’m excited about giving him that opportunity because I really like the guy’s stuff. I wouldn’t rule anything out because we’re keeping our options open with him.”
Hyde also said he hasn’t spoken to Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo about Saturday’s incident at Camden Yards when both benches and bullpens emptied after Alek Manoah hit Maikel Franco, apparently in retaliation for the back-to-back home runs surrendered to Ryan Mountcastle and DJ Stewart. Manoah received a five-game suspension, which he appealed, and undisclosed fine.
Manoah is listed as Friday night’s starter.
Hyde and Montoyo exchanged words on the field after Manoah’s ejection.
Does Hyde expect to speak with Montoyo during the series?
“Maybe,” he replied. “I don’t know. If it comes up.”
For the Blue Jays
Marcus Semien 2B
Bo Bichette SS
Vladimir Guerrero Jr. DH
Teoscar Hernández RF
Randal Grichuk CF
Cavan Biggio 3B
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. LF
Joe Panik 1B
Reese McGuire C
Anthony Kay LHP