The Orioles are better than last year, and Hyde thinks they can be even better - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

The Orioles are better than last year, and Hyde thinks they can be even better

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon


BOSTON—The Orioles begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field tonight, and will see the team that’s leading the American League East.

The Rays are 12-4, and they lead the second-place Orioles by 5 ½ games.

The Orioles are 7-10. They have a 6-4 record on the road, but have lost six of seven at home.

“I like the way our team plays,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’ve been in almost every single game. It’s just been something here or there and we’ve come up short a few times.

“I love the way they compete. I love the way we grind out at-bats. It’s a team effort. Guys are really pulling for each other. Obviously, I wish our record was better, but I’m happy with how we’ve been going about our business and how we’re playing, and I feel like we’re going to improve as the season goes on.”

The Orioles are giving up nearly six earned runs a game, and the 5.98 ERA will have to shrink for improvement.

Tampa Bay has a 2.44 ERA and has given up just 12 home runs in 16 games. In their first 16 games, the Orioles set a major league record by allowing 40. In Monday’s 8-1 victory over the Boston Red Sox, the Orioles didn’t allow a home run of the first time this season.

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Before Monday’s game, Hyde said the pitchers need to do better when they fall behind in the count.

“I think we could definitely execute in leveraged counts on the mound,” Hyde said. “We could definitely execute better on the mound in big spots and not get beat in the middle of the play. I see that a lot.”

Entering Monday’s game, the Orioles had pitched horribly when the count was 3-and-1 or 3-and-2.

In 37 3-and-1 counts, Oriole opponents hit .563 with a .784 on-base percentage and an eye-popping 1.500 slugging average. That equals an OPS (on-base plus slugging average) of 2.284.

In 37 full counts, Oriole opponents numbers were  .310/.495/.521 for an OPS of 1.016.

Meanwhile, the Rays hold opponents to a .197 average, a .398 on-base percentage and .303 slugging percentage for a .701 OPS. Their 3-and-1 counts weren’t great, .400/.714/.400 for an 1.114 OPS, but they were far better than the Orioles.

Hyde knows what he wants to see from his pitchers.

“Just a not giving-in attitude,” he said. “I think our guys are still developing and still understanding that that’s important. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to walk a guy. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to pitch on the black. There are other times where you want to be aggressive and go right at guys. Guys are still finding the right times to do that.”

Things got better on Monday when Paul Fry struck out Steve Pearce on a 3-2 count. Evan Phillips, who pitched for the second straight game, threw a scoreless inning.

“I thought Paul Fry and Evan Phillips were really good, but they’ve been good,” Hyde said. “They both have some swing-and-miss stuff. I love their aggressiveness. They attacked early and went to chase late and got some big outs for us.”

Overall, the Orioles’ are better in several ways than they were a year ago. After 17 games in 2018, the Orioles were 5-12, and in their first 17 games a year ago had struck out 175 times. They struck out 10 or more times in 12 of those games.

This year, they’ve struck out 147 times, and 10 or more times in just six games.

They were an abysmal 19-62 on the road. They’ve already won six. A year ago, they didn’t win their sixth road game until May 24.

Hyde likes that the Orioles are able to add to their lead as they did on Monday, when they scored four runs in the eighth and ninth to put the game out of reach.

“The tack-on runs is enormous,” Hyde said. “Anytime you have a chance when you have a lead to extend it, it saves your bullpen…it’s just so important, and I love the fact that when we had the lead today, we continued to battle, continued to take really good at-bats, not kind of cruise into the end of the game, but actually continue to score, and that’s what good teams do.”

11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Fareastern89

    April 16, 2019 at 7:30 am

    The O’s are also far more enjoyable to watch than last year, despite the absence of familiar names. They play with energy and enthusiasm, rather than anxiety and a sense of impending doom. Thanks for the quotes from Hyde on the ongoing process of teaching the pitchers how to pitch in different situations — although it’s one thing to tell a pitcher when to pitch on the black, and another thing for him to have the ability to do that. But I have to say the team is playing significantly better than I expected at this point. Glad to see they’re holding down the fort while the top prospects get more development time in the minors.

    • ButchBird59

      April 16, 2019 at 9:56 am

      Well put! I agree totally!
      Last year’s team had more proven stars but, the dugout looked like a bunch of drunks waiting for their lawyers to show up at the county jail. Yes, I’m a realist and I know some very tough stretches are ahead but, at least it’s a much more fun brand of baseball to watch.
      Usually, baseball drafts don’t get me excited but, this one coming up in June is huge for Elias and the Orioles. It would be nice to return to the days when the Orioles had 20-game winners coming out of the system like autumn leaves. Also, some credit to the old regime last year in that they put an emphasis on defense in the draft. I hope that continues.

      • Orial

        April 16, 2019 at 4:13 pm

        This defense improvement is on Elias not Duquette. Elias brought in Martin,Ruiz,Alberto all instrimental in the defense’s improvement.

    • Ekim

      April 16, 2019 at 4:08 pm

      Butch… I’m with you on the draft and have written so here at BB. We’re basically stuck with the “chaff” that we’ve got in the minors. ( Has anyone taken a look at the won/loss record for the top three teams? ) My hope is we’ll have a productive draft and get some real talent for a change. Elias’ track record gives me some hope.

    • Raymo

      April 18, 2019 at 9:51 am

      Great points everyone. And let’s not forget about the great D from our catchers. I love our new guys even if they don’t hit.

  2. Orial

    April 16, 2019 at 7:42 am

    His and I assume Brocail’s recognition of what has to be done with the pitchers is impressive. Hopefully they have a means to address the mound issues. Interesting that Wright is still in purgatory–guess they haven’t found a way to address his issues. O’s are playing solid ball lately BUT that dreaded home stand lurks come Friday. Until they find a way to stop getting blasted at home I’ll hold all judgements.

  3. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    April 16, 2019 at 9:15 am

    A nice analysis of the statistics on 3-1 counts. This has a lot to do with their -29 run differential. After the dreadful Oakland series I didn’t expect the Orioles to split with Boston. Also, Davis had a big series too. It’s a long season but so far they hustle and are doing much better than most expected at this point.

  4. willmiranda

    April 16, 2019 at 9:56 am

    “The second-place Orioles”? Sounds good in a rebuilding year.

  5. PA Bird Lover

    April 16, 2019 at 3:48 pm

    There is little doubt that the team is an improvement over the dreadful ‘18 season. The guys hustle, hit and play a decent D. The loafers are gone, not that Adam would be in that category. In my opinion, AJ was honest and a great team leader. The reality is, it’s far to early to Chrisin this team better than last year 47-115 or the 54-100 1954 team. We all need to hope that progress continues.

  6. Zoey Dog Says Throw Strikes

    April 16, 2019 at 5:51 pm

    Just a quick FYI: Rich, something on this site this site is causing redirects. It’s usually caused by some questionable code in website ads. You may want to reach out to whoever runs your site and alert them that folks are getting redirected to spam websites from baltimorebaseballl.com.

    I had to switch to AdBlock browser to read this post. Kept getting automatically redirected to some crap site.

    • Steve Cockey

      April 16, 2019 at 8:52 pm

      Thanks, Zoey. We’ll check this out.

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