Orioles get back on the field tonight, plus other notes

After the uncertainty while they were sitting around their hotel rooms on Monday in Miami, the Orioles got a bit of certainty yesterday when Major League Baseball announced that they’ll host the New York Yankees the next two nights at Camden Yards.

The Orioles will avoid, at least for now, playing the Miami Marlins after their team was hit with a widespread breakout of COVID-19. The O’s players, coaches and staff have been, by their own accounts, very strongly following the protocols and trying to keep everyone in their clubhouse healthy.

Manager Brandon Hyde was asked during a Zoom call with reporters last night if what happened to the Marlins makes him more concerned or uncomfortable now.

“I think you will always have concern,” he said. “We had concern going in. We’re trusting the process of how we are going about things here. But, yeah, it’s natural to, when there are numerous guys on one team testing positive, there is a little bit of concern. But we want to play. Our guys want to play. We feel comfortable about how things are here right now. We’ll continue to follow closely all the guidelines. Our guys really want to be on the field. This was something that was possible and it’s extremely unfortunate. But I think we are taking it very, very seriously.”

During a Zoom call with reporters last night, Chris Davis said he may wear a mask on the field tonight “just to be safe.”

We don’t know why the Marlins team got hit so hard or where and how any of their players first contracted the virus. But Davis was asked how he would feel if we find out later that any player got careless with the protocols.

Davis-Elbow-Bump-Ruiz-Black-Sidebar.jpg“You know, we’d be discouraged,” said Davis. “But at the same time, we’re putting a lot of faith and a lot of trust in guys to do the right thing and that’s not just with our club, that’s league-wide. And I think that responsibility was assumed by every team once we hammered out the protocols and figured out how it would look like to go to the park on a daily basis.

“I think players assume that responsibility on their own and I hope that guys would be doing all they can and taking all the precautions. And going to extremes to protect themselves. I think it’s just going to be disappointing if we find out guys weren’t following those guidelines. At the end of the day, you can only control what you can control. For me, my responsibility is the other 29 guys in that clubhouse. To make sure that they know what they need to do, how they need to go about their business. And I’ve been really proud how our guys have handled themselves so far.”

Bring on the Yankees: Maybe we should not say that when reviewing the Orioles’ 2019 numbers versus that team. They went 2-17 (.105) .against New York and went 22-35 (.386) against the rest of the division. The O’s went 2-1 in the season-opening series last year at Yankee Stadium in March. They would not win another game against the team, losing 16 in a row after April 4.

In addition to going 2-17 versus the Yankees last year, the Orioles went 0-10 at home. Over those 19 games, the Yankees batted a collective .303/.386/.632 off Baltimore pitching with an OPS of 1.018. They hit 61 homers and scored 151 runs (7.9 runs/game) in the season series. Of the 61 homers, a combined 23 were hit by Gleyber Torres (13) and Gary Sánchez (10). The 17 wins against the Orioles were New York’s most against any team since going 17-5 against Kansas City in 1959.

So there is room for improvement against the Bronx Bombers.

Unless you have to face right-hander Gerrit Cole (1-0, 1.80 ERA) and he pitches against the Orioles tonight. So a tough challenge. Cole has won his last 17 decisions over his past 23 regular season starts since May 27, 2019. In that time, he is 17-0 with a 1.78 ERA. He gave up just one hit and one run over five innings in his opening night win over Washington on Thursday.

So the odds seem large against the Orioles tonight, no?

Saying goodbye to a special young man: Orioles and Ravens superfan Mo Gaba died last night. He was just 14. He had so many challenges in his life and battled cancer four times. He won the hearts of Baltimore sports fans and became a bit of a local celebrity after his many times calling into 105.7 The Fan. He and Trey Mancini developed a special bond.

Just yesterday, the Orioles elected Mo to their Hall of Fame as the second recipient of The Wild Bill Hagy Award.

When there was every reason in the world for Mo to be down, he went the other way. He was joyous and his laugh was special. Nothing could get him down. He’s gone way too soon. I wish we all could be more like him and the world would be a better place. This video from the Orioles is a little tough to watch, but provides a glimpse of his impact on the team and town.

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