So the Orioles had chances to win a couple of games in the series with the New York Yankees, but they went 0-4. They’ve now lost six in a row and take a 15-35 record into their game in Colorado tonight.
As the losses mount, some fans in Birdland are venting, but to me, it appears a large segment of Birdland expected exactly this. They knew rebuilding would be painful in the won-loss column and they actually get it. They want to see some positives and they have and they are not yet getting too beaten down by losing.
Those are my very unscientific thoughts after interacting with many fans over many days this year here on this blog, via my Twitter account and on my “Extra Innings” radio show after games on 105.7 FM The Fan in Baltimore.
On that show, I hear often from fans that are very levelheaded and measured in their thoughts and opinions. They know a No. 1 draft pick coming, there has been some solid pitching on the farm, the club is about to really dive into the international market, and they seem to have bought into the plan and vision of the new front office led by executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias.
Elias put it this way this week when asked what fans should know about this season.
“There have been good things this year so far with the major league team’s play,” he said. “The win-loss record is not one of those good things. It is what it is right now. We’d like to see it get better. We’d like to play at a little better win clip than this, but there are guys that are having good seasons. I’m not going to run down the list, but there are guys who are playing well, there are young players taking steps forward, there are guys getting, really, their first extended taste of major league play here who have come in from other organizations, waiver claims, what have you, that are possibly establishing themselves as major league players, and that’s good to see that here.
“We’re trying to bring talent in from all the angles that we can, and if we’re able to add a couple of guys and have them stick and be pieces here, I think that would make this year a huge success. But look, we have a huge effort on our hands. This is the beginning of it. We all know what this looks like. It doesn’t mean we’re not going to push to get better, but that’s where we’re at right now.”
Elias is impressive in interviews and they allow him to communicate to his fan base. The more the Orioles can put him out there and in front of the cameras, the better. He’s been part of winners in St. Louis and Houston, and fans may see the benefit of that eventually here in Baltimore.
Meanwhile, manager Brandon Hyde is doing his part. He’s out there in front of those cameras twice a day. He’s never once snapped at or lost patience with a reporter or gotten worn down by hearing some of the same questions day after day. He is remarkably upbeat and I think his players feed off that.
But the last week or so has been a real test for skipper and players alike. There has been some shoddy defense in Cleveland and against New York and a blown lead against the Yankees. Some fundamental mistakes that frustrate the team and fans alike.
But Hyde carries on, never wavering from finding something to hang onto. Even yesterday after his club got swept by New York.
“That’s what I’m focusing on,” he said. “Our job is to get these guys better. I’m focusing on Dylan Bundy having some starts he didn’t like early to now back-to-back really good starts against two really good lineups. And I take a lot from that, that pumps me up.
“Richie Martin’s ABs the last couple days. Facing (Masahiro) Tanaka, one of the elite pitchers in the American League, and he drills a ball in his first at-bat up the middle right at (DJ) LeMahieu and then off (Jonathan) Holder he hits a line drive that (Aaron) Hicks made a nice play against the wall in center field. So you see some positives out of it. Obviously, the competitive part of me, these are tough, these are hard. It’s not easy to go home at the end of the day. But you just try to find the positives and we are doing some good things. We’re just playing really good clubs and we’re just a little short.”
They may be short in the talent department, but not in their efforts to provide leadership for the clubhouse in Hyde’s case and a plan for the future in Elias’ case.
So what are the fans thinking around Birdland? Are you hanging in there with all the losses? Do you believe in the plan for the future and have hope for what Elias and company might be able to put together?
Did you miss this?: During the Yankees series, I wrote here about Renato Núñez and the work he’s been doing to pull out of his slump. At the beginning of this series, Nunez was in a 3-for-47 slump and had gone 6-for-68. But he went 5-for-14 in the four games with a double, three homers and six RBIs. His three-run homer in the eighth yesterday tied the game 5-5.
I also wrote this about reliever Shawn Armstrong. Since the club claimed him off waivers from Seattle, the right-hander has an ERA of 0.96 and WHIP of 0.75 in eight games. Over 9 1/3 innings, he’s allowed three hits and one run with four walks and 10 strikeouts.
On Wednesday, there was this blog with Elias. He talked about draft preparations and the Orioles international efforts. He said that, “July 2 is coming up and the international signing period will open. It will be the largest international signing period, July 2, that the Orioles have ever had.”
Good news on the farm: Lefty pitcher Alex Wells has been cleared to make his next start on Monday for Double-A Bowie in Erie. Wells, who is 2-1 with a 2.12 ERA over six starts, left his last outing on Monday in the third inning. He had thrown two scoreless innings and was hit on his left arm near his elbow by a line drive in the third inning. But fortunately that was not serious and he is heading out in a few days for his next start. Wells was the Orioles’ 2017 Minor League Pitcher of the Year and pitched in the All-Star Futures Game last summer.