As the Orioles’ losing streak reached 16 Friday night, the team was remaining upbeat pregame in the clubhouse and keeping their energy and work ethic up amid mounting losses.
Media is not allowed back in big league clubhouses yet, so we’ll take manager Brandon Hyde’s word for it. But that was the experience I had in 2019. The Orioles were losing games, but maintaining a positive attitude then as they are now, which cannot be easy to do.
“I give our guys a ton of credit,” Hyde said before Saturday’s game, when the losing streak reached 17. “I feel like it’s as good as it possibly can be in our clubhouse, in our work. The energy our guys have brought when the game starts. Really impressed with how they’ve handled it. The end of the games are disappointing and it’s been a very, very tough season. But our guys, you know, I walk through the clubhouse when I get here and I don’t see heads hanging and guys discouraged before the game. Sometimes after there is some frustration.”
So just how does a team maintain the energy during this time, a time when there have been several lopsided losses to deal with?
“For me, it’s coaches that set the tone of the level of positivity in the clubhouse,” Hyde added. “I think our guys are doing a great job of being the same people every day. It’s very, very challenging to do when you’re losing. I think one thing we’ve done here for three years is be really consistent in our clubhouse from a mindset of new day today. I want players to see that we’re going to be OK and we’re going to get through this. I think our coaches are extremely positive guys that keep players upbeat.”
During his session with reporters on Friday, O’s executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias said he and Hyde realize during the current hard times that better times may be ahead. That is what the rebuild, they believe, is leading toward.
“I do (look ahead). There is day-to-day and there is tonight’s game but yeah, you do look ahead, and I do follow what happens in our minor leagues,” said Hyde. “As hard as this is, we are still process-based in that we have sights down the road on the team we could possibly be here in a few years. But it’s not easy on a day-to-day basis. You want to win some games and you want to show at least a competitive product, and right now it’s just been a struggle.”
Right-hander Matt Harvey took the loss last night and after the game made comments similar to Hyde’s pregame thoughts.
“I think everybody is doing exactly what they need to do to get ready for a game, to stay on the field, whatever it is,” Harvey said. “Especially in August, it’s a grind. Lot of people don’t understand that, how hard it is. It’s especially hard when you are on a streak like we are. I think the guys are doing a good job of continuously doing their work and trying to get better every day. Stay on the field and stay healthy. We’ll come out of it. Hopefully, it’s (today).”
During the first 15 losses in this streak, the O’s lost by three runs or fewer three times. But now they have lost 3-0 and 5-4 the last two nights versus Atlanta.
“It’s never easy to lose. I think we’ve played really good baseball the last two nights,” Hyde said. “I thought we did a bunch of good things. We scored our runs on homers. We’ve got to be able to muster some rallies and keep the line moving. Been hard to string hits together right now.”
Ryan Mountcastle hit his 21st homer last night, extending the longest current hitting streak in the majors to 15 games. He’s batting .396 (19-for-48) during the streak with four doubles, five homers and 10 RBIs.
Mountcastle was asked what he hears from fans both before and after games.
“It’s pretty positive,” he said. “Bunch of people just yelling to me to sign balls and hats and all that. But it’s all good. They’ve been great and hopefully they continue to come out and support us.”
Right-hander Marcos Diplán threw two scoreless innings in relief last night. In 11 innings in seven big leagues games he’s allowed just two hits and one unearned run for an ERA of 0.00 with three walks to 11 strikeouts.
Diplán is the sixth pitcher in O’s history to not allow an earned run in his first seven career appearances, and the first since Donnie Hart in July and August of 2016.
On the farm last night: The low Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds improved to 53-42, and to 5-0 since they got an infusion of 2021 Orioles draft picks. Top pick Colton Cowser’s bases-loaded single in the last of the 10th was a walk-off winner, as the Shorebirds beat Fredericksburg 5-4. Cowser went 1-for-3 and is batting .278 with an .839 OPS. He smoked a ball off the right field wall, credited only for a single to win the game, but he didn’t miss a walk-off grand slam by that much. O’s third-round pick John Rhodes doubled in the tie run in the last of the ninth. He had two hits and is batting .353.
Triple-A Norfolk lefty Alexander Wells threw five scoreless innings on one hit at Charlotte on Saturday afternoon. But reliever Félix Bautista gave up a three-run, walk-off homer in the last of the ninth as the Tides lost.
Double-A Bowie swept a doubleheader at Reading to improve to 56-37 and enhance the Baysox’s playoff chances.