I’m not sure I agree with manager Brandon Hyde that the Orioles have to play almost perfect baseball to beat good clubs, but we sure know they can’t play poorly and do it. They pitched poorly for most of Friday’s game with Boston and played poorly overall for much of Saturday’s loss.
It started in the top of the first, when outfielders Keon Broxton and Anthony Santander had a discussion after Broxton made a catch in the gap while Andrew Benintendi was tagging up and running unfettered into second base. Can’t happen. Not a good look, for sure.
Physical and mental mistakes were a big part of the Orioles’ 7-2 loss to the Red Sox yesterday. When the Orioles scored twice in the last of the sixth, they cut Boston’s lead to 3-2 and gave some hope of a possible comeback win against Chris Sale. But they lost by five and the comeback attempt didn’t get very far.
Hyde indicated after yesterday’s game that some players are not taking advantage of a great chance to play in the major leagues on this rebuilding team.
“The bottom line is in the big leagues - I’m going to steal a Joe Maddon term here I heard when he got to Tampa - we’re taking inventory of what we have,” Hyde said. “That’s the way to look at it is we’re taking inventory of the players that we have, who’s going to be around for us when we’re good. Just evaluating our players.
“Our guys are getting an incredible opportunity, and at times, I feel like we take advantage of them for the most part. Days like the last couple days, guys haven’t. They need to start appreciating the opportunity that they’re getting. We’ve just got to clean up a lot of things defensively and on the mound.”
But the offense has been an issue, too - and we’ll get to that.
But, yeah, losing focus in the first inning is disappointing and frustrating. It’s one thing to get beat, it’s another to help the opponent beat them. Or to make mental errors. Certainly, Hyde and the coaches address such things, but they can’t play the game for the players. Yep, frustrating.
The Orioles could sure use a better and cleaner game on defense today. Let’s see if they do better catching the ball, throwing to the right base, not missing cutoff men and making fundamental plays behind John Means.
While the defense came up short yesterday, and the pitchers have allowed 40 runs during a four-game losing streak, the O’s are not scoring much either. They’ve scored four runs on 17 hits in this series, going 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position. The Orioles have scored three runs or less in 11 of the past 16 games. They are 6-37 when scoring four runs or fewer.
Is all the losing starting to beat the players down? Is it leading to some of the mistakes we’ve seen in recent games?
Quite possibly, it is. But you wouldn’t think you’d see some of these issues from young players that should have a real sense of urgency to show their coaches what they can do at the major league level.