Orioles manager Brandon Hyde impresses others through his support for Davis - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde impresses others through his support for Davis

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

As Wednesday night’s painful 8-1 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays again demonstrated, the Orioles’ building process will continue to be difficult.

With the team’s record now 7-12, Brandon Hyde continues to draw rave reviews for his performance in his first year as a manager.

Hyde, who was chosen by general manager Mike Elias, has his full support.

“We’re thrilled with the job that Brandon and the staff is doing,” Elias said. “Any new managerial situation is challenging, but in particular, ours. We’ve got a lot of young players and the team is coming off a rough year last year. This one had its particular challenges as well. He and his staff have met things head-on and injected great energy and a style of play that has carried through the first couple of weeks of April here and hopefully continues. The team is playing good defense and playing hard and enjoying one another.”

Hyde has encountered unexpected challenges during his first three weeks as a big league manager. He never expected that Chris Davis would fail at a record pace, then recover only to miss the last two games because of illness.

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Davis appreciated Hyde’s support during his hitless streak that became a national story.

“Good grief, he’s had to answer questions pretty much every day about me,” Davis said on Saturday after he got his first three hits of the 2018 season, ending a hitless streak that had reached 54 at-bats.

Hyde sloughed off credit for making things easier for Davis.

“How hard it was on me was miniscule to what he’s going through,” Hyde said. “I don’t look at it like that. I don’t look at it as it was hard for me. I think that’s part of my job. I want to support our players. I want to put our guys in a position to have success. If that means I have to answer tough questions, then that’s OK.”

Hyde does have to answer tough questions, and he’s been terrific at press conferences, patiently explaining his decisions without becoming defensive.

“It’s 100 percent about him,” Hyde said about Davis. “I just wanted him to play well and feel good. That’s why [Saturday] was such a big deal for our team because I saw what he has been going through and reading about it and watching it on TV. You feel for the guy and you want the guy to have success. It’s nothing about anybody else except for him…I know how much it meant to him. It’s about him.”

His other players appreciate him, too. When Hyde won his first major league game in his second game at Yankee Stadium on March 30, they pushed him into a laundry cart and doused him in syrup.

In just his fourth game, Hyde removed starter David Hess after he had thrown 6 1/3 hitless innings. When asked about his impressions of his manager, Trey Mancini volunteered his admiration.

“He’s done an incredible job,” Mancini said. “It’s been kind of eventful with Hess’ no-hitter. It got blown up in the media. He handled it fantastically. We’re thinking long-term here. David had pitched in relief a few days before. It was the right call. Especially in hindsight, it was the right call.”

Mancini played his first two seasons for Buck Showalter, a manager he greatly respected. Hyde has brought his own style, and Mancini appreciates it.

“There’s no sense of panic,” Mancini said. “Just get them tomorrow. We weren’t playing our best baseball, either. Some of the first few games we lost, we played pretty well, I thought…there’s never a sense of panic, never anything like that, just go get them tomorrow. We all know things are going to happen throughout the year. There are going to be some games where we don’t play our best ball.

“A lot of that starts with ‘Hyder,’ and the mood that…he’s set the tone with how we should go about our business, and I think we’ve been doing a good job of that.

One of Showalter’s bromides used to be: Never catch a falling star. He was fearful of how a veteran reacted when his fortunes fell. Hyde never had that fear with Davis.

“I think he has handled it and continues to handle it extremely well,” Elias said. “ It’s a tough situation to encounter a veteran, a star veteran that is in a prolonged multi-year slump, and there’s a lot from the manager’s perspective in terms of communication that goes into navigating a situation like that.

“From the outset, Brandon sat down with Chris, talked about how we wanted to best situate him this year, try to use him in spots where he can start putting together some good at-bats and continue to help the team with his great defense, some of the leadership he provides. That’s coming along, and I think we’re going to see him continue to turn the corner throughout the year.”

Elias says that his talks with Hyde about Davis weren’t unusual, but rather the rule

“We talk about every player extensively,” Elias said. “We’re in a situation right now where we’re trying to develop guys, maximize talent, give opportunities, evaluate players. We talked at length beginning from the time he was hired and through spring training about it. With Chris Davis’ situation in particular, we’ve tried to stay on top of that. We are and continue to be looking into things that we can do to help him, and we’re going to continue to try and do stuff.”

When the Orioles hit the expected rough patches in the next five-plus months, Hyde will be tested again, but according to Mancini, he has not only the Hess situation to fall back on, but the Davis experience, too.

“It’s not easy to be in that situation, to have people asking every day,” Mancini said. “It kind of dominated the storylines for a little bit. They both handled that great.

“He knew that Chris would come around, and he kept saying it, and it showed. There are going to be more things that happen this year that are unexpected. He’ll handle that the same way. I’ve got full confidence in that.”

14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Ekim

    April 18, 2019 at 7:51 am

    … and now he’s got the Mullins situation! I watch him and shake my head. If patience is a virtue then both Hyde and Elias have more than their share. I’m sure the excuse for keeping him in the lineup is they don’t have anyone better to call up… which tells you the dire straits this team is in. The three top minor league teams have abysmal records with few players with any stats worth looking at. Thanks Dan!

    • Bhoffman1

      April 18, 2019 at 12:50 pm

      You can add Richard to that situation too. Both are not major league starting outfielder. I’ve said it countless times Hays should have been our starting center fielder they cut him and he screws up his thumb that’s karma. As for Richard he looks like a little leaguer at bat. Santlander abd Steward would be a upgrade. Have to give Elias credit for finding Smith. He’s looking like a keeper and possible all star

      • Rich Dubroff

        April 18, 2019 at 1:44 pm

        Bruce, you keep commenting on “Richard.” It’s “Rickard,” not “Richard.” Hays is injured. It wasn’t karma that caused his injury but a head-first slide.

    • Camden Brooks

      April 18, 2019 at 8:40 pm

      So at age 24 and barely 200 MLB at bats, you’re ready to punt on Cedric Mullins? Glad you weren’t GM when Cal hit .128 in his first 40 trips to the plate….

    • Ekim

      April 19, 2019 at 8:11 am

      Cam… I never said anything about “punting “ on him. If you could go back to the comments I made about him when he was first called up last year I posted that he wasn’t ready for the “bigs”. I’d watched him at Bowie and saw a streaky, undisciplined hitter. He got off to a hot start and soon tailed off. I guess they keep throwing him back out there hoping for a hot streak. His Spring training stats were poor and when they sent Hays down and kept him I found it hard to believe. Mullins was the one that needed more “seasoning” and the proof of it is in his .089 batting average. Even Davis has a higher average at .109.

    • Camden Brooks

      April 19, 2019 at 3:39 pm

      Sorry Ekim, I wasn’t referencing your comment(s).

  2. Schwarzstop

    April 18, 2019 at 9:53 am

    Rich, I find it interesting and encouraging how many of your posts mention both Elias and Hyde! It is good to see a Front Office and On-Field Management working together towards a common goal. Not to say Buck and Dan didn’t work together, but I don’t think they had the relationship that Elias and Hyde seem to have! I see great things ahead for this team because of that communication!

    • Rich Dubroff

      April 18, 2019 at 10:30 am

      Schwarzstop, Elias and Hyde are in their positions for the first time, and since we have no idea where they’re headed, it’s the storyline of the season—until the players start performing well.

  3. Tony Paparella

    April 18, 2019 at 10:10 am

    Hyde is in his first managerial job and there is no way of giving a complete evaluation at this point. Same can be said of a couple of the new guys who are struggling.It is a little early though a couple of them look lost at the plate for sure.Also I hear accolades on peoples defensive prowess on the field but I don’t share that opinion, at least not 100 percent. A lot of misjudging of grounders and fly balls,Juggling the ball, and poor arm performance. Anyway back to Hyde, he seems pretty much down to earth and willing to cooperate with all reporters and talks respectively of his players. It is hard to judge his on field decisions at this point because he does not know what the majority of this team has (is capable of) for the most part at this juncture.

  4. Orial

    April 18, 2019 at 10:51 am

    Hyde does have a much more laid back, uncontreversial approach than Buck but I can’t see where the handling of Davis differed except that Buck had a lot longer period of witnessing Davis’ demise. Patience may not have been a virtue with Buck where as Hyde’s approach may fall under the “been there done that” with Buck.

  5. mindless1

    April 18, 2019 at 11:43 am

    I’m a bit perplexed by this organization’s high regard for Mullins. He doesn’t look like he can hit from either side, and, his arm seems incredibly weak. I’ve noticed on deep fly balls, the cut-off man has to position himself half-way into center field to receive Mullins’ throws.
    He does have decent foot speed but if he never gets on base, it doesn’t matter much.

    • Bhoffman1

      April 18, 2019 at 12:52 pm

      He looks helpless at bat and yes has a weak arm. Him and Richard are the worst starting two outfielders in baseball

    • Jbigle1

      April 18, 2019 at 1:20 pm

      Mullins has a very weak arm. Other than hays who obviously played awful last year he’s our best CF prospect. That doesn’t mean he’s a particularly good CF prospect. He’s a fourth outfielder for sure but with Hays on the shelf we might as well roll with him. Stewart, Santander and the like aren’t centerfielders so we’d just be starting Rickard out there everyday. Until Hays is back into the swing of things it’s Rickard/Mullins or a waiver claim because there’s no one in the org filling the slot.

  6. BirdsCaps

    April 18, 2019 at 11:59 am

    Hyde’s patience hasn’t only been tested by the players this year. CB Bucknor’s zone was abysmal last night. For the first few innings , it was fairly one sided. After Cossins was run out of the ball game, the zone was still awful, but more even to both sides. Furthermore, after running Cossins, Bucknor was exceedingly animated, with his finger pointing and and only a few inches from Hyde (who was relatively coalm). The umpire was almost as animated as a manager who just got tossed. Either the birds are so awful that the terrible calls and strike zones are magnified or the calls are much worse this year than in years previous.

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