Home runs sting Orioles again; Hays continues sensational September; Mancini named Player of the Week - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Paul Folkemer

Home runs sting Orioles again; Hays continues sensational September; Mancini named Player of the Week

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

The Orioles threw everything they had at the Toronto Blue Jays in their 15-inning, series-opening marathon Monday night. But the game ultimately ended with a sight that’s all too familiar to the Orioles pitching staff: with an opposing batter making a home run trot around the bases.

Anthony Alford’s walk-off home run with two outs in the bottom of the 15th ended a five-hour, 25-minute roller coaster in which the Orioles rallied back from a five-run deficit, then blew leads in the seventh, ninth and 12th innings.

The Orioles couldn’t overcome their mistakes, starting with the home run ball.

Since August 22, when the Orioles set a major league record for home runs allowed in a season (259), the pitching staff had done a slightly better job at keeping the long balls in check. They hadn’t allowed more than three home runs in a game since August 12, and only three times in their last 37 games had they given up more than two. They entered Monday’s game on pace to allow 305 this year, down significantly from the 330 they were projected to give up as of August 22.

At Rogers Centre, though, the home run bug bit the Orioles’ staff again. Right-hander Chandler Shepherd, making his second major league start, was roughed up for three home runs in his three innings of work, including Randal Grichuk’s seventh against the Orioles this year.

In the seventh, reliever Paul Fry served up the fourth Blue Jays blast, a game-tying Cavan Biggio drive to right. It took another eight innings for Toronto’s fifth and final home run, Alford’s decisive shot against Ryan Eades.

It wasn’t just homers that hurt Orioles pitchers; they also got themselves in trouble by allowing free baserunners. A walk to Biggio preceded Grichuk’s first-inning, three-run homer. In the third, Grichuk was hit by a pitch to start the inning and later came around to score. And the costliest free pass was issued by Shawn Armstrong, who attempted to close out a two-run game in the ninth but put himself in an immediate jam by hitting leadoff man Jonathan Davis with a pitch. That sparked a two-run rally that sent the game to extras.

After the Orioles regained the lead in the 12th on Chris Davis’ solo homer, they allowed the Blue Jays to knot the score in the bottom half without the benefit of a hit. Third baseman Rio Ruiz threw the ball away on Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s grounder, and David Hess hit a batter and walked another to push the tying run to third, where he scored on a sacrifice fly.

The Orioles’ bullpen did a solid job overall, giving up four earned runs in 11 2/3 innings after Shepherd’s abbreviated start, but had trouble keeping the ball in the strike zone — and in the ballpark — when it mattered.


Hays shines again

The Orioles haven’t yet anointed Austin Hays as their everyday centerfielder for 2020. But right now, there seems to be no stopping him.

The 24-year-old rookie took his breakout September to new heights with his finest game as a major leaguer, bashing two home runs and collecting a career-best five RBIs in the Orioles’ losing effort.

Hays’ first home run, a three-run shot off veteran Clay Buchholz in the third, helped erase a sizable chunk of the Orioles’ early 5-0 deficit. In the fifth, he lifted an opposite-field blast to right field, going back-to-back with Jonathan Villar, to whittle the Blue Jays’ advantage to one. Ruiz’s two-run homer later in the inning gave the Orioles their first lead.

In the eighth, Hays tapped a two-out, RBI single up the middle to extend the Orioles’ edge to 9-7.

Hays also continued to impress defensively. In the third inning, he notched his first career outfield assist, throwing out Guerrero Jr. attempting to stretch a single into a double. Three innings later, Hays made a nice running catch coming toward the infield, securing the third out to strand a pair of Blue Jays baserunners.

Earlier in the day, Hays won Play of the Week honors for his leaping catch to rob Guerrero Jr. of a home run in Baltimore last Thursday. It was one of two Hays catches nominated for Play of the Week, the other being his ninth-inning diving snare of a sinking liner hit by Seattle’s Omar Narvaez on Friday.

Hays has been a revelation since the Orioles recalled him from Triple-A Norfolk on September 7, his first big league appearance in two years. He’s hitting .314 with a .991 OPS, four home runs and 12 RBIs.

He’s also provided stability to the center field position, which has been a revolving door for the Orioles all year long. Opening Day starter Cedric Mullins had just six hits in 64 at-bats before getting sent to the minors in April. Joey Rickard and Keon Broxton flamed out in brief tryouts before they were sent packing. Stevie Wilkerson (57 starts in center) isn’t an outfielder by trade, and Anthony Santander (20 starts) is more suited for a corner spot. Hays is considered the front-runner for the center field job next year, and his September performance is strengthening his case.

Hays may be leading a new generation of youngsters who could make up the core of the next contending Orioles team. In 2020, he’ll likely be joined in the club’s everyday lineup by Ryan Mountcastle, the Orioles’ Minor League Player of the Year this season. By 2021, top prospect Adley Rutschman could join the fold, with pitching prospects DL Hall and Grayson Rodriguez also on the horizon.

Hays, in just 16 major league games this year, has become one of the Orioles’ best stories of the season. And he’s giving Orioles fans a glimpse of a promising future in Baltimore.

A case of the Mondays

Not since Garfield has anyone been as miserable on Mondays as the 2019 Orioles.

The Orioles’ loss to Toronto was their 11th straight Monday loss. They haven’t won a game on a Monday since Memorial Day, May 27, against the Detroit Tigers. Overall, they’re 5-14 (.263 winning percentage) on Mondays this year.

Still, that’s not their worst record on a particular day of the week. They’re 6-18 (.250) on Wednesdays, and 2-13 (.133) on Thursdays. Their only two Thursday victories this year came on April 18 and July 25.

The Orioles’ most successful day has been Saturday, where they’re 12-16 (.429).

Mancini earns weekly honors

Hays wasn’t the only Oriole honored by Major League Baseball this week.

Trey Mancini’s recent surge at the plate was recognized Monday, when he was named the American League Player of the Week for the period ending September 22.

Mancini hit .462 (12-for-26) in six games, with half of his hits going for extra bases. He hit two home runs and collected 10 RBIs. He also scored his 100th run of the season Wednesday, joining Villar (106) as the first pair of Oriole teammates with 100 or more runs since Davis and Manny Machado in 2015.

Mancini’s bat has been red-hot in September. Entering Monday, he was hitting .354 with a 1.025 OPS, five home runs and 19 RBIs, and had hits in 18 of his 19 starts, including multi-hit games in six of his last nine.

On Friday, Mancini was named the 2019 Most Valuable Oriole, as voted on by members of the local media. He’s batting .286 with an .888 OPS, 34 home runs and 93 RBIs this year.

This was Mancini’s first career Player of the Week award. It was the first for any Oriole since Jonathan Schoop last July 30, the day before he was traded to Milwaukee.



  1. CalsPals

    September 24, 2019 at 8:08 am

    10 pitchers used, 3 w/era below 5.00, loser had the best era…contagious…they don’t know how to win…go O’s…

    • willmiranda

      September 24, 2019 at 11:24 am

      Knowing how to win begins with wanting to win. The mantra of the O’s is that player development is the priority. You can’t have two priorities. Winning is not everybody’s goal; in fact, if it is your goal, you’re out of step. And if you’re not in step, you’re going to be gone because this is all one big audition for an imaginary team in 2024. Winning in 2019 isn’t important, so it’s better to blow leads and extend the game so that management can audition more relievers. If you’re not focused on winning, you’re going to lose a lot to people who are. Management knows this, so they downplay losses, something real competitors don’t do.

      • Paul Folkemer

        September 24, 2019 at 1:13 pm

        It’s not about not wanting to win. It’s about wanting to build a team that can win year in and year out. That’s the goal. But obviously it’s going to take some time, since the new regime had to start over from scratch. They could’ve tossed a couple million bucks at some bargain-bin free agents to try to win a few extra games in 2019, but that wouldn’t have accomplished much.

        • willmiranda

          September 24, 2019 at 3:45 pm

          Thanks for the feedback, Paul. I’m not talking about adding those you call “bargain-bin free agents.” I’m saying that with the players they have they could have won “a few extra games’ or maybe 8 or 10 more over the course of the season. Hyde has said as much. Repeatedly. I am simply trying to take the next step of seeking why. My suggestion is a passion for winning that expresses itself in focus and intensity. I consider games that seem winnable, not ones where the O’s are outclassed or simply having a bad day. Last night, for example, ahead by two runs in the bottom of the ninth, the pitcher plunks the first hitter, bringing the tying run to the plate. I doubt that he did this on purpose. I don’t sense the attitude: “It’s the bottom of the ninth. I have to do my best to win.” Winning year in and year out means having the attitude of playing to win today, every day. The long-term view seems to be: let’s wait for the talent, and then we’ll develop the attitude. Meanwhile, we’ll try not to make people feel bad about losing.

          • Paul Folkemer

            September 24, 2019 at 4:30 pm

            All I can say is that the players on the field are trying their best to win. They just don’t have as much talent as their competition. No amount of attitude can overcome that.

    • OriolesNumber1Fan

      September 24, 2019 at 5:43 pm

      CalPal – You asked ‘not sure where I get the 14 years of losing’ try the 14 straight years before Buck Showalter arrived!

    • CalsPals

      September 24, 2019 at 6:20 pm

      But you bad mouth showalter & don’t give him any credit for being the latest winning manager we’ve had, state your point don’t try to sound smart, it’s not working, if you’re not bitching about something you don’t seem happy…go O’s…

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        September 25, 2019 at 9:43 am


    • CalsPals

      September 25, 2019 at 5:34 pm

      You’re right, you are number 1, lmao, I’m not the one who said Mountcastle wouldn’t start with the team next yr, well until a couple weeks into the season, that’s wrong…again, you are # 1, I equate what you do to beer muscles, tough talk behind a screen, all the yelling, hysterical…go O’s…

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        September 25, 2019 at 7:38 pm

        CalPals – beer muscles? Try me. It’s called passionate about my Orioles.

    • CalsPals

      September 25, 2019 at 8:35 pm

      Hysterical…go O’s…

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 24, 2019 at 8:44 am

    You know … THIS is the team I wanted to watch coming out of spring training. It’s both a blessing and a shame that the season is coming to an end.

    Go Os

  3. Orial

    September 24, 2019 at 8:46 am

    Armstrong– released at season’s end,Fry–VERY short leash next spring,Givens–they’ll try to deal but he’ll be back. And THAT folks is the best of the bullpen. Sign of a bad team –when a good defensive player saves his worst for the most crucial moment(Ruiz).

    • Paul Folkemer

      September 24, 2019 at 9:45 am

      Don’t forget that Hunter Harvey should be back in the bullpen next year, unless the O’s give him another crack at starting.

    • CalsPals

      September 24, 2019 at 10:14 am

      Unfortunately I question his ability to pitch the whole season, I’m guessing his best place would be the bullpen…hope he can throw an entire season…go O’s…

      • Orial

        September 24, 2019 at 10:17 am

        I too am not gonna hold my breath on him.

        • Jbigle1

          September 24, 2019 at 10:47 am

          Armstrong is a fine middle reliever. He shouldn’t be closing games for a major league team. That’s the problem. Keep him in the middle innings and he’sll be fine.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 24, 2019 at 10:19 am

      Nothing wrong with dumpster diving for a few relief pitchers this off season. It’s worked in the past.

  4. B.C. Bird

    September 24, 2019 at 8:49 am

    Watching Armstrong give the game away was brutal. Hyde should have asked the bat boy to relieve him. Are these guys really that brutal?

    • Paul Folkemer

      September 24, 2019 at 9:48 am

      It’s not a deep group, B.C. Bird. The talent level on the major league pitching staff is thin right now, as the Orioles have acknowledged.

      • B.C. Bird

        September 24, 2019 at 11:37 am

        I don’t disagree but if they are so up on data collecting plug some of that info to Hyde, time after time he trots out the same old tired people regardless of their performance. You cannot honestly say you felt comfortable watching Armstrong, I would have had him on a two batter leash but not Hyde, he watched him give the game away. Its not that I dislike Hyde, he is in way over his head, but someone should be helping him with his decision making.
        Still loving the O’s but frustrated here in B.C.

        • Paul Folkemer

          September 24, 2019 at 1:18 pm

          But what reliever would you have been comfortable watching in the ninth? Tayler Scott? Tanner Scott? Tate? Eades? Hess? Those were the only guys still available at that point. Armstrong has a better ERA than all but Eades. So why limit Armstrong to two batters if there are no better options available?

    • Raymo

      September 26, 2019 at 1:20 pm


  5. Fareastern89

    September 24, 2019 at 8:58 am

    Amusing note about the O’s days-of-the-week records, Paul. I wonder if anyone in the front office is analyzing these results.

    • Paul Folkemer

      September 24, 2019 at 9:49 am

      Thanks, Fareastern, but I hope nobody is actually analyzing it. It’s an interesting curiosity, but it doesn’t have any real meaning.

  6. Bancells Moustache

    September 24, 2019 at 10:25 am

    Just as the slave whispered in the Roman conqueror’s ear as he rode in triumph that “all glory is fleeting”, the Oriole fan watching the magnificent September of Austin Hays reads the whisper of “Cedric Mullins”. Man, this dude is balling right now. Let’s hope it continues.

    OT: Our Walgreens inspired friends on the other end of 295 are close to a playoff berth; do we root for them?

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 24, 2019 at 10:37 am

      Does Crush Davis hit for a high average?

    • SpinMaster

      September 25, 2019 at 8:23 am

      Bancells: I do not root for the Nationals. It stems from their pursuit of breaking their contract with MASN that, if done would financially hurt the O’s. They have plenty of money to pay the pitchers they have. They are not poor.

    • Raymo

      September 26, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Great answer Boog!!

  7. Bman

    September 24, 2019 at 10:45 am

    Looks like the Os all but secured that number two draft pick. That will help. I hope Hays and Mountcastle start the year on the team or there may be a revolt. Harvey, Santander, etc. things are looking up for next year. My question is who they bring up to pitch? Do they keep grooming AAA and AA pitchers or trot out the same rotation?

    • Jbigle1

      September 24, 2019 at 10:49 am

      They definitely will. Santander, Hays and Stewart/Smith is the OF next year barring an addition. Even if an addition is made I would imagine that effects the Stewart/Smith side of things.

      • Jbigle1

        September 24, 2019 at 10:58 am

        And I doubt an addition is made. Other than perhaps another Dwight Smith type deal. I think that’d be a fine choice. Let Stewart/Smith/Wilkerson etc. play some patchwork OF until Diaz is ready to go next year. If someone falls in our lap on waivers by all means go for it but I wouldn’t be actively looking to acquire a guy right now. Not til I give Diaz, Santander, and Hays a fair crack in the OF.

    • Paul Folkemer

      September 24, 2019 at 1:21 pm

      Mountcastle might not be on the Opening Day roster next year, but he should be up a couple of weeks into the season. The pitching is definitely still a question mark. The only in-house pitcher who might enter the rotation mix is Keegan Akin. Otherwise it’ll be the same candidates as this year, plus whoever the O’s pick up in the offseason.

      • CalsPals

        September 24, 2019 at 2:03 pm

        All because of timing, that’s a bunch of crap, I said it earlier & I’ll say it again, if I’m Ryan & this is how they are treating me, when I get my first chance at a new contract I’m gone, treat people fairly, the real scary part is you have Adley watching how this all plays out & how Mountcastle is being treated, I’m guessing there have been quite a few WTF’s thrown around the minors by players whose performance has warranted a reward like being brought up, but instead they reward Trumbo (nice guy) with a promotion after doing nothing, but let’s reward him because he rehabbed his knee the right way…say what you want, I really don’t think I’m off base on this…Go O’s…

        • OriolesNumber1Fan

          September 24, 2019 at 6:09 pm

          CalPal – The issue with Mountcastle is he has not progressed defensively at any position yet. Also needs to work on plate discipline. Doesn’t have a high on base % for his batting average. He seems to be a lot like Hanser Alberto where he swings at everything moving. Came up as a shortstop didn’t play well there. They moved him to third same issue. Tried him in left field and 1st base this year and seems to do better. I’m hoping 1st base for him and if he grasps it they will certainly move him up! But at 22, what’s the rush. He seems fine with the Orioles working with him on finding him a position. You should try to be a little more optimistic. Then finish with a Go O’s!!!

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            September 24, 2019 at 9:13 pm

            Mr. Science….I seem to have a hard time understanding this baseball thing. Please explain to me how if Mountcastle’s poor defense was a reason to keep him down on the farm this year, why did management trot out an infield consisting of Villar, Alberto and Nunez? How many of these defensive stalwarts do you suppose will win gold gloves this year?

            All I ever hear from the OsNumber1Fan is the regurgitation of the company line and sychophantic press. How’s about an original thought some day? Or am I just not recognizing something again?

      • ButchBird59

        September 24, 2019 at 3:29 pm

        The good news is the likes of Lowther, Baumann, and Wells could make it to AAA at least. That would mean, unlike this year, at least the Baltimore/Norfolk shuffle could include some genuine pitching prospects.

    • ClayDal

      September 24, 2019 at 2:30 pm

      Mountcastle isn’t under contract for next year, however he is under team control. So the Orioles will offer him a contract and he will have 2 choices-sign or retire. I predict he signs

    • CalsPals

      September 24, 2019 at 6:24 pm

      I have no problem this yr, my comments are directed at the couple of guys that have stated he’ll be up there a couple weeks into the season next year, the ONLY reason for that is time accountability…that’s crap…go O’s…

    • ClayDal

      September 24, 2019 at 6:46 pm

      We don’t know that Mountcastle won’t make the team out of Spring Training next year. That’s speculation because of how teams have done it in the past. Back in 2014, speculation was Jonathan Schoop would be sent down the first few weeks to preserve service time. He made the team. Same with Zach Britton in 2011. Besides, let’s not make Mountcastle into the second coming of Miguel Cabrera just yet. He had a great year at Norfolk , but still has no permanent position. He walked only 24 times and struck out 130 . Will that work in the majors. He could be another Cabrera. Another Mancini. Or another Renato Nunez. Let’s hold off building the statue just yet. You can start the rough draft of Hays HOF speech however

    • CalsPals

      September 25, 2019 at 7:41 am

      Awesome Boog, Awesome…go O’s…

  8. willmiranda

    September 24, 2019 at 11:07 am

    It’s telling that the O’s haven’t “anointed” Hays as next year’s center fielder. It nicely suggests the arrogance of the front office. Performance doesn’t matter; winning is a matter of indifference; what counts is pleasing His Highness, who will act arbitrarily just to show who’s in charge. Hays clearly earned center field in spring training, but was sent down, and not even as one of the last cuts. Some say he was not on the O”s because of injury, but he was perfectly healthy BEFORE he was sent down. Of course, you could say, “We could tell he was going to get hurt, so we sent him down.” I don’t say he would have played the whole season at his present high level, but he surely would have been better than the sum of parts Elias paraded out there.

    • ClayDal

      September 24, 2019 at 11:31 am

      The Orioles “anointed” Cedric Mullins CF this spring and that didn’t work out so well. If Hays comes to Spring Training 2020 healthy and the right attitude, it will be his job to lose. Hays is 24 now so service time rules don’t really apply to him

      • willmiranda

        September 24, 2019 at 12:30 pm

        I agree that Mullins was “anointed.” I believe Elias did it even before Christmas.
        Since you emphasize the “right” attitude, I think you get my point, even if we don’t
        totally agree. I never heard he had the “wrong” one,

    • ft

      September 24, 2019 at 11:54 am

      Spring training numbers aren’t everything. Hays was sent down because he missed most of 2018 and had never played AAA. There were things they wanted him to work on. Doesn’t seem that hard to understand. If he hadn’t gotten injured the next week, maybe he would have been up sooner, but we can’t know that, because he did. By the way, if you are really that bitter about Elias and the O’s, I am sure the Yankees or Dodgers would make some room for you on their bandwagon.

      • willmiranda

        September 24, 2019 at 12:45 pm

        For the record, if I were bitter about the O’s, I wouldn’t be writing here. And i’m not bitter about Elias; I just think this is a forum to discuss the positives and negatives of his actions since he is clearly the most powerful person in the organization regarding policy and personnel. Personally, I totally agree that spring training numbers aren’t everything, but this specific spring training was advertised as open competition wherein the best performers would be rewarded. I point out that in the case of Hays this did not happen and that I think this was both unfair to the player and counterproductive to the team. As for the Yankees and Dodgers, Elias has repeatedly said that he’s trying to emulate the best practices of today’s successful teams. I would be surprised if he were not hoping for a similar bandwagon for all of us to ride on in Baltimore.

    • ClayDal

      September 24, 2019 at 12:53 pm

      I never heard that Hays had the wrong attitude either. As long as he stays healthy and doesn’t come into Spring Training with a swelled head, he should be fine.

  9. Mlretiree

    September 24, 2019 at 11:45 am

    Last night’s blown save by Paul Fry is surely his ticket back to the minors! Easy to see why no contender wanted Givens. Total lack of consistency. I’d like to see him gone!

    • CalsPals

      September 24, 2019 at 2:06 pm

      Unfortunately no where to send him now but back to the bullpen…go O’s…

    • Ekim

      September 24, 2019 at 7:02 pm

      You can add Hess to those two and DFA all three hopefully to never see them in an O’s uniform ever again. Just saying…

  10. Mickraut

    September 25, 2019 at 1:59 pm

    I don’t like Mondays…..
    O’s forever !

  11. OriolesNumber1Fan

    September 25, 2019 at 4:40 pm

    Hey Boogster fire – 1) Mountcastle is not on the 40 man roster yet. While Villar, Alberto and Nunez are on the 40. 2) Villar and Alberto have some versatility and Nunez was DH most of the year and Mountcastle does not. And 3) REBUILD MORON!!! STILL CAN’T GRASP THE IDEA. THEY WOULDN’T WIN WITH MOUNTCASTLE ON THE MAJOR LEAGUE ROSTER. SO WHY START THE CLOCK ON HIM UNTIL THEY DO. THEY NEED PITCHING AND LOTS OF IT!!!

    • CalsPals

      September 25, 2019 at 5:36 pm

      Hysterical…I love it…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 25, 2019 at 7:26 pm

      Ahhhh….yeah there’s nobody on the 40 man that we could possibly do without. I see your wisdom now. Each of those 3 are able to drop ground balls at multiple positions. I am indeed a moron. Why did I not see this before?

      (BTW .. .I think your caps lock key may be stuck in the on position)

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        September 25, 2019 at 8:08 pm

        You know Boog, it’s like I’m talking to a blank wall. You and Calpals both. You the blank and him the wall. You want all the rooks up, sure why not. Start the clock on all of them and deplete the minor leagues. And in 4 or 5 years if their confidence isn’t shot down and you and cp stop bitching about all the rookie mistakes and maybe they overcome that too and become great players. And then in a year or two from then, and they’re all gone in free agency with nothing to show of it. Maybe then you’ll get it. You apparently don’t get or know what a rebuild is and I’m tired of explaining this to you two.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          September 25, 2019 at 9:02 pm

          Good to see you got the caps lock key unlocked.

          Dude you’re too easy. Thanks for the entertainment.

    • CalsPals

      September 25, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Then do us all a favor & stop…hysterical…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 25, 2019 at 8:59 pm

        Say Cal … I think he’s onto something here. “They need pitching” …. who knew? This guy is like a baseball savant or something.

    • CalsPals

      September 25, 2019 at 9:09 pm

      Don’t they call that an idiot savant? Lol…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 25, 2019 at 9:36 pm

        Let’s be nice. As Oriole fans, name calling and upper case typing don’t become us. 🙂

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        September 26, 2019 at 6:22 pm

        Like I said before calnopal, try me! Just try me tough guy!

    • CalsPals

      September 26, 2019 at 7:43 am

      It’s actually pretty funny, he needs to look it up in Webster’s, it fits perfect…thx Boog…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        September 27, 2019 at 7:23 am

        Hey … CP … I think numero uno wants you to meet him on the playground after school to settle things.

    • CalsPals

      September 27, 2019 at 12:26 pm

      40 yrs as a college wrestling coach, really don’t think he knows what he’s asking for…like I said idiot savant…go O’s…

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