He’s volunteered several times, including on Wednesday night, that he and first baseman Chris Davis have a solid relationship.
That relationship and Hyde’s leadership was put to the test in the fifth inning of a game the Orioles would lose 14-2 to the New York Yankees.
Davis and Hyde exchanged words, and Davis had to be restrained from going after Hyde after the manager said something and left the dugout. Hyde removed Davis from the game.
After the game, Hyde downplayed the dispute while Davis wasn’t in the clubhouse to talk about it.
It came at the end of an embarrassing three-game sweep by the New York Yankees. After Monday’s tough loss, Hyde criticized the umpiring and replay crews, saying it was clear that Jace Peterson, who was called out when trying to steal home, had touched home ahead of the tag.
“I thought it was joke, to be honest with you,” Hyde said. “That was pathetic. I’m standing right on the line. It was clear as day to me and as well as the entire crowd on the replay in the stadium. I just thought it changed the whole momentum of the game at that point and I thought it was absolutely pathetic.”
There’s been no word on whether Hyde has been fined for public criticism of the umpires and the replay process.
After Tuesday’s 9-4 loss, Hyde went a different direction, pointing out that the Orioles were at a severe disadvantage talent-wise to the Yankees, who hit five home runs on Monday and six more on Tuesday.
“This is a results business,” Hyde said. “If you’re going to pitch here, you’ve got to be able to keep the ball in the ballpark. Our numbers don’t lie, what we have. They’re setting all kinds of home runs given up records. ERAs are unbelievably inflated. We just have a long way to go.
“I don’t know what else to say. It’s hard to watch. It’s tough, but you do the best you can and try to get guys better, but we’re not close.”
Hyde’s criticism of the umpiring undoubtedly increased his support in the Orioles’ clubhouse. While few of the players are established major leaguers, they like knowing their manager will stand up for them.
A night later, Hyde appealed to the fan base, which knows that the Orioles’ talent isn’t close to what it needs to be.
For nine years, Orioles fans watched Buck Showalter’s nightly postgame press conferences on MASN. While Showalter was knowledgeable, he was also generally circumspect, rarely doling out public criticism of players.
Showalter was extremely popular in Baltimore, and if Hyde keeps the honest talk coming, he will be popular, too. But improvement in the Orioles’ record will have to come as well.
Now, Hyde is faced with something Showalter never had to deal with, a public dispute with a noted player.
Hyde wouldn’t say what precipitated the argument, but it could have been Davis’ lackadaisical toss of Brett Gardner’s grounder to first to pitcher Miguel Castro, who made the putout for the second out of the fifth inning. Davis also didn’t appear to go all out in pursuing a foul ball that landed just inside the stands.
As Davis struggled through an 0-for-33 streak to begin the season, Hyde was supportive of the first baseman’s work ethic.
Davis, who still has more than three years left on his seven-year, $161 million contract, has played adequate defense at first, despite his offensive ineffectiveness over the past few years.
Hyde has a loud voice, and while genial publicly, was openly frustrated during the three losses to the Yankees. Davis obviously took exception to something Hyde said to him.
After the game, Hyde insisted there was little to the argument, and that the team would move on and be stronger for it.
Oriole fans, many of whom are eager for the team to move on from Davis, will surely remember this night.
Because no one expected the Orioles to be competitive this season, Hyde isn’t being judged on his team’s won-loss record, which is three games better than it was a year ago.
Hyde is trying to keep steady during a potentially traumatizing first year, and helping mentor some players who can help the team improve in 2020 and beyond.
Davis’ future won’t be decided by Hyde. General manager Mike Elias, and John and Louis Angelos will have their say.
During Davis’ long hitless streak, he was cheered by the modest Oriole Park crowds, and he appreciated the support. Davis also praised Hyde.
It will be interesting to see if there’s a public apology from Davis on Friday when the team plays next. It’s expected that Hyde and Davis will talk on Thursday about the incident.
Hyde’s painful first year will continue, but something was different Wednesday night. He was annoyed that a player he publicly defended disappointed him, and his managerial actions will be watched even more closely.