CLEVELAND - Before Thursday’s game, both Orioles manager Brandon Hyde and one of the team’s leaders, Trey Mancini, talked about the appreciation they had for how the Orioles clubhouse is handling mounting losses.
The losses are not unexpected, but they can weigh a team down and hinder youngsters as they try to grow and develop as players. Last night’s 14-7 loss in Cleveland featured an awful five-run Cleveland seventh, and the Orioles looked like a last-place team in that inning.
But even in that defeat they scored seven runs off right-hander Trevor Bauer, built a lead of 5-1 and came back to get the lead after they fell behind 6-5. Stevie Wilkerson’s two-run double in the fifth gave them a 7-6 advantage that they could not hold.
But in his pregame press availability Thursday, Hyde talked about how he can find signs of progress even in games the Orioles lose.
“We’re going to improve as the year goes along, and we’re still developing a lot,” he said. “I think the mood in our clubhouse has been the same since day one. Guys haven’t let the losses affect them, and our preparation has been good. We come to win every night. We don’t sulk in the clubhouse or feel sorry for ourselves. We just have a sense that we need to get better, and we’re going to try and win every night.”
Said Mancini after the Orioles fell to 14-29 with their seventh loss in eight games: “Games like this are going to happen. It’s kind of just unfortunate timing. But you have to look big picture. And I think we’ve been going about our business in a good way and trying to take positives from every game, and we’re going to try and do that tonight.”
Mancini had plenty of praise for his young teammates before Thursday’s series opener.
“We’re more focused on how we’re playing and the quality of our games” than on the won-loss record, Mancini said. “And we’ve lost a lot of close ones, and hopefully the results of those change in our favor. I’ve been proud of the way we are competing. I think as the year goes on, as these guys get more experience, those results will go in our favor more.
“It’s a long process in terms of where our organization is right now. I feel good about how we’ve been playing. I feel we could have won a lot more, and that is the other side of that and it’s disappointing. I feel good about how everyone goes about their business every day. Everyone is invested and everyone is pulling in the right direction. Those are the things you look at with where your team is at, even though our record is not what we want. We need to improve on that,” he said.
Starter Dan Straily struggled again last night, lasting just 3 1/3 innings while giving up four runs. The Orioles bullpen, which had been throwing better recently as a group, gave up 10 runs last night. The bullpen has allowed 121 runs to lead the majors. The Orioles are 0-3 on this road trip and have lost 13 of 17 and 17 of 23.
But Mancini also takes time to look at a bigger picture. He feels that things are happening that are good for the Orioles’ future. Things that don’t factor into the current won-loss record, including an improved international effort, a No. 1 draft pick in June and changes and upgrades throughout the organization that new general manager Mike Elias is putting in place.
He can see a brighter day ahead, even when the team loses games the way it did last night.
“During the year, all the attention will be on the team and wins and losses,” Mancini said. “But there are so many things happening behind the scenes. First couple of years of the rebuild set the tone for the organization. There is a ton of good stuff going on. Look at their track record and who is leading our organization. They did a pretty damn good job in Houston. There are smart guys that know how to run a team, and the fans should be excited about that.”
On the farm last night: Triple-A Norfolk beat Toledo 6-0 as left-hander Keegan Akin allowed three hits over six innings to improve to 2-1 with a 3.60 ERA. Akin, who fanned nine, has allowed one run in 12 2/3 innings over his past two starts.
Double-A Bowie beat Erie 3-2 in 10 innings on Mason McCoy’s walk-off single. McCoy went 3-for-5 and is batting .417. Lefty Bruce Zimmermann allowed two runs in six innings in a no-decision, and has a 2.61 ERA through seven starts.
Single-A Frederick lost 6-1 at Wilmington. Left-hander DL Hall got the start and allowed four runs in 2 2/3 innings. He was ejected by the home plate umpire in the third inning. Austin Hays hit a sac fly in the seventh as Frederick ended a scoreless stretch at 25 2/3 innings. Hays is 1-for-15 in his first four rehab games with the Keys.
Single-A Delmarva won again, 4-0 at Greensboro. The Shorebirds are 10-1 in their last 11 road games and 29-8 for the year. Winning pitcher Gray Fenter allowed one run over five innings. Zach Matson fanned nine in four innings to get a save. Matson, a 24th-round pick in 2016, has a 1.45 ERA over eight games and has struck out 30 batters over 18 2/3 innings.