BALTIMORE—The Orioles begin their final six weeks of the 2019 season against the only American League team they’ve yet to play, the Kansas City Royals.
The Royals have the third-worst record in baseball (44-80) while the Orioles have the second worst (39-85). The teams play three games this week and three more at Kauffman Stadium on August 30-September 1. The Detroit Tigers have the worst record at 37-84.
Last year, the Orioles and Kansas City had the poorest records in the majors. The Orioles selected catcher Adley Rutschman with the top pick in the draft, and the Royals took high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. with the No. 2 pick.
Some have been expressed the hope that the Orioles would get the top pick again next year, but that’s not how Orioles manager Brandon Hyde is thinking.
“Obviously, it’s been a tough year,” Hyde said Monday. “We knew that going in. But we’re not going to stop fighting and competing. I think if you ask any player in there, they could [not] care less about the number one draft choice.
“Try to win every single night … Our coaching staff feels the same way. We are preparing the same way. We’re going to coach. We’re going to teach, and we’re going to try and win every single night.”
The Orioles were 16-15, their best stretch of the season, between June 28 and August 4.
Before that period, they had lost 13 of 14, including 10 straight, their longest losing streak in a decade. Over the last 13 games with the New York Yankees, Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox, the Orioles have lost 12.
“It’s been a tough couple of weeks,” Hyde said. “We’ve played some really good clubs that are postseason bound. So, we’ve taken our lumps. There’s no doubt about it. There’s going to be no quit in this group. Our guys are continue to scratch and claw and win as many games as we possibly can.
“That was a tough trip. To go play in those environments, which are awesome and a lot of fun, but not fun to lose.”
The games the Orioles have with Kansas City aren’t the only ones that could affect the 2020 draft. On September 13-16, the Orioles face the Tigers.
Detroit, which is 15-52 since June 1, has managed to stay nine percentage points behind the Orioles (.306 to .315) despite Baltimore’s recent skid.
Injury update: Chance Sisco, who left Sunday’s game with a groin injury, was not seriously injured. Earlier in the sixth inning, Boston’s Sam Travis hit Sisco in the neck and shoulder area while crossing home plate. Sisco was hit with a ball during Rafael Devers’ at-bat.
“He’s just sore,” Hyde said. “A tough inning. Doctor saw him after the game. Doctor saw him today and cleared him to play. We got good news.”
Dwight Smith Jr., who is on the 10-day injured list with a strained left calf, begins a rehab assignment with Triple-A Norfolk. He’ll be the Tides’ designated hitter and will play the outfield on Tuesday.