TORONTO - Manager Brandon Hyde has set a portion of his starting rotation for the first few games after the All-Star break. After ending the pre-break portion of their schedule today in Toronto, the Orioles host the Tampa Bay Rays starting Friday for four games in three days.
They’ll play Friday night with a split day-night doubleheader Saturday and a Sunday afternoon series finale with the Rays.
Hyde confirmed again today that Dylan Bundy will start the first game back. Lefty John Means will throw in one of Saturday’s games and the other is TBA right now. Hyde has not yet decided which game Means will start, but he goes on Saturday. Andrew Cashner will pitch the final game of that series on Sunday.
The Orioles will reach the break today. Means will play for the American League in Cleveland but the rest of the players will scatter to see their families and enjoy a few days off after this game.
During his pregame session today, it was a good time for the rookie skipper to size up a 27-61 first half that is ending well, with wins in five of the past eight.
“I think it’s been tough,” said Hyde. “We had positives and negatives. I think it’s not easy to go through our situation. You can talk about this process we’re in and that we’re looking to the future. But it’s not easy to lose. It can beat you up and wear on your club.
“I just like the way our guys come to park the same way every single day, as well as our coaching staff. I think if you ask any of our players, it’s still a good environment, and that’s pretty rare when the team is struggling. So I think it’s going well in some ways and not well in others, from a win-loss standpoint. But I think we’re creating the right culture here. Our staff and veteran guys have done a nice job of coming to the park ready to work and play every day, so I’m happy about that.”
And even though Hyde has appreciated his team’s day-in-and-day-out effort and energy, it’s been a nice reward to actually get some wins recently to show for it.
“It’s never easy to feel good about everything that’s happening going into the game and then things not working out during the game. And it’s happened, obviously, a lot this year during the first half. So to see guys rewarded, you feel good after the game. We talked about it early in the year. I felt bad for our guys who were so invested but then couldn’t feel good about the outcome of the game. That stinks. Yeah, we’ve played pretty good these last couple of series. Hope to play well today and go into the break on a good note.”
Hyde said pitcher Aaron Brooks, claimed off waivers yesterday from Oakland, will likely join the team for the first game after the All-Star break next Friday, in a role to be determined. Brooks started for Oakland April 11 in Baltimore and allowed three runs and three hits over six innings. He has gone 2-3 with a 5.01 ERA in 15 games, six starts, for the A’s.
“He pretty much dominated us in Baltimore,” said Hyde. “Its a heavy sinker, breaking ball, competitive guy that has really good stuff. Love the fact that we have him and hope he pitches well for us in the second half.”
Hyde was a coach in the 2017 All-Star Game, so what is his parting advice to Means before he heads for Cleveland?
“Enjoy it. Soak it all in,” Hyde said. “Get as many autographs, get as many things signed as you possibly can. Enjoy the room where you walk in and there is, just like the gift basket room, the swag room, which is unreal. Just enjoy the experience. It’s an incredible moment for him. It’s a really busy three days and he’s not going to stop moving, stop signing. I told him to enjoy the whole experience.”
An early Jays homer: Toronto took a 2-0 lead in the first on Lourdes Gurriel Jr.’s booming two-run homer to center off Asher Wojciechowski. He hit No. 16 a distance of 419 feet.
Jansen hits RBI double: Danny Jansen bounced a Wojciechowski pitch over the center field wall for an automatic double that brought Vladimir Guerrero Jr. home to give the Jays a 3-0 lead in the fourth.
Another crooked number: Rowdy Tellez’s RBI double and Teoscar Hernández’s two-RBI single in the sixth gave the Blue Jays a 6-0 lead.
Sisco goes deep: Chance Sisco hit a solo homer in the seventh to put the Orioles on the board. They trail 6-1 going into the home half.
Stranded: The Orioles left two runners in scoring position as the Blue Jays salvaged the series finale and handed the Birds a 6-1 defeat.