Hyde tries to keep Orioles' focus on the present and not postseason; Injury updates on Cobb, Hays, Armstrong - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Hyde tries to keep Orioles’ focus on the present and not postseason; Injury updates on Cobb, Hays, Armstrong

Photo Credit; Joy R. Absalon

NEW YORK—The Orioles’ four-game winning streak has moved them to within a half-game of the New York Yankees and only a game behind the Houston Astros.

When this unique season began July 24, the common theme was “anything can happen,” but there weren’t many who thought the Orioles could be within hailing distance of the Yankees and Astros more than two-thirds into the season.

Had this been a conventional 162-game season, the Orioles’ 20-21 record would have been impressive, but it would have been just past the quarter-point in the middle of May.

Instead, the Orioles have a better record than six of the American League’s 15 teams, including the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels.

Those big-money teams are far out of contention while the Orioles are making things tough on the other contenders.

“I think we’re focused on the Orioles right now, and we need to win as many games as possible,” manager Brandon Hyde said during his Wednesday pregame video conference call.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t know what was going on around the league, if I didn’t watch highlights at night, check scores and watch MLB Network the next day to see what’s happening. It doesn’t matter what the league does if we don’t win.”

BaseballReference.com gives the Orioles an 18.8 percent chance of playing in the postseason while FanGraphs estimates their chances at 11.6 percent, not great, but far above what most fans expected.

“I’d be disappointed if we don’t play well the rest of the year,” Hyde said. “I think whatever happens, happens. Obviously, I’d love for our team to continue to experience these games that matter the last two weeks.

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“We don’t have many in that room who’ve been in a pennant race. I think continuing to play games that matter is really beneficial for guys. There’s still a lot of baseball to be played, and there are still a lot of teams that are right there.”

If the Orioles beat the Mets on Wednesday night, they’ll be 21-21. They haven’t been at .500 since August 23rd when they were 14-14.

“I think we came into this short season not really knowing what to expect,” Hyde said. “Not knowing what teams were going to look like.

“[General manager Mike Elias]’s been really transparent about adding as much talent to the organization as possible. That’s been our mindset. He’s done an amazing job doing that these first couple of years, and developing the guys that we have.

“I think we’ve done that fairly well. We’re still trying to develop the younger players that we have on our team right now as well as the guys that are at our secondary site that we’re excited about. With less than 20 games to go, and hovering around .500, I’d just like to see us play well these last couple of weeks.”

Entering Wednesday game, the Orioles have 20 wins. With their next victory, they’ll surpass BetOnline.ag’s projection of 20 ½. Their net win also guarantees them an improved winning percentage in 2020.

Last year, the Orioles went 54-108, a winning percentage of .333. A 20-40 record in a 60-game season gives them an identical winning percentage.

To avoid the 2020 equivalent of 100 losses, the Orioles would need at least 24 wins.

Their remaining schedule, as Hyde points out, is difficult. After Wednesday’s game, they have four games with the New York Yankees.

Next week’s final homestand includes three games against the Atlanta Braves, who lead the National League East, and five against the Tampa Bay Rays, including a Thursday doubleheader. Tampa Bay has the best record in the American League.

The Orioles’ final six games are on the road — three at Boston and three against Toronto in Buffalo.

“We have less than three weeks to go, but I know that we have a long way to go,” Hyde said. “Still have a lot of games to go. We’re still playing really good teams. Obviously would love to play well and have these guys experience a postseason, what that feels like. That would be incredible, an incredible achievement for the guys in our clubhouse.

“Really I am just taking this day-to-day to be honest with you, and try to win tonight, wake up tomorrow and see where we are and continue to do that the next three weeks.”

Injury updates: Hyde said he hoped starter Alex Cobb, who’s on the injured list, could return later this week … Austin Hays, who’s been on the 10-day injured list since August 15th because of a rib fracture, was supposed to play in a simulated game on Wednesday but rain in Bowie prevented that. Hyde thinks he needs about a week of at-bats to return … Relief pitcher Shawn Armstrong, who’s been on the IL because of lower back soreness, is beginning to throw, and Hyde hopes he can pitch before the end of the season.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. BirdsCaps

    September 9, 2020 at 6:31 pm

    Even though I don’t expect a postseason appearance, I think it is more than possible if they continue to play well.

  2. spwagner44

    September 9, 2020 at 6:38 pm

    Why can’t we be equal and straight up fair in mlb? What I mean is; why can’t all teams be assigned a salary cap that’s equal/same $ amount for all MLB? It would allow all teams to compete on a fair and square level… and why does baseball front office/commissioners office allow some limited team to go over and pay a luxury tax to be able to acquire better players and rookies? It is not fair. My theory would eliminate small and big market teams ? I mean WTF…

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 9, 2020 at 6:52 pm

      Steven, the Players Association has long fought against a salary cap. Unless they agreed, it won’t happen. With a salary cap, you’d also have to have a salary floor, which would prevent teams like the Orioles from constructing teams the way they want.

      NFL and MLB teams share network TV monies–and other national money–equally. But, in the NFL, there’s no local television, and local radio isn’t a huge moneymaker. In baseball, the money the Yankees or Dodgers makes in local TV isn’t shared, and those clubs don’t want to share much.

      There is a luxury tax, which serves to penalize the biggest spenders.

      Teams from smaller markets can compete. The teams with the best records in the AL are currently Tampa Bay and Oakland, two smaller market teams with the two worst stadiums in baseball.

    • CalsPals

      September 9, 2020 at 7:31 pm

      What Rich means by a salary floor is the O’s would have to spend a minimum amount of money every year, not enabling them to do what they’re doing, see didn’t even say the “T” word…go O’s…

      • Rich Dubroff

        September 9, 2020 at 7:38 pm

        In the NFL and NBA, you have ready-made pros coming in from the draft, which isn’t the case in baseball. It’s easier to manage a salary cap with the college talent coming in.

    • CalsPals

      September 9, 2020 at 7:42 pm

      Takes money to make money…go O’s…

      • Jbigle1

        September 9, 2020 at 10:13 pm

        The Orioles could spend 140 million dollars every year and still absolutely suck. Spending money and winning ball games aren’t a direct correlation. Take a look at the garbage can Angels. Running out near 200 million dollar payroll YOY w/ garbage results. Or the Cincinnati Reds who’ve went on a huge shopping spree to suck.
        The Rangers too shot up their payroll but still suck. How about the Mets? Or even the Phillies who are an extremely flawed expensive team. Even if they make it to the playoffs.

        The top teams in baseball, regardless of their payroll, develop their core themselves. If you don’t do that— even 200 million dollars Can’t fix it. The Rays and A’s spend pennies. Indians too. The value comes from guys on rookie deals. The best teams use FA as a supplement to their own Player development.

    • CalsPals

      September 10, 2020 at 6:29 am

      & FA cost money…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      September 10, 2020 at 9:38 am

      Angels team salary is just under 67 million, not quite 200 million.. go O’s…

  3. spwagner44

    September 9, 2020 at 6:44 pm

    I feel small market teams never get a fair shake! How can we watch baseball knowing there’s not equal fairness of competition? Small market fans like me must be delusional/ nuts to invest our hours watching unfair and unequal levels of competition! I’m about done with it all at age 52…?

  4. spwagner44

    September 9, 2020 at 8:10 pm

    No the only reason I watch the Orioles it is because it reminds me of when I was a young boy and my dad would take me to the memorial stadium right across the street from my aunts Bertha‘s house, and we could walk to the stadium and get in for about six bucks each! I used to love those salted peanuts and cold iced sodas, and occasionally my dad would buy me one of those spicy red hot dogs, and it was just the greatest fun we had together. We used to sit in the upper reserve cheap seats.
    So I guess in a way watching the Orioles on TV today in my 50s, it’s like kind of still like being a young boy with my dad, except he’s not with me anymore, and it kind of reminds me of those young, fun and innocent trips to the stadium to watch Eddie Murray, Terry Crowley, Earl Weaver, and Pat Kelly,etc.

  5. CalsPals

    September 10, 2020 at 7:23 am

    As of opening day O’s payroll is last & not even 1/2 of the league avg, can you imagine the payroll without Cobb & Davis…ouch…disservice to the fans…go O’s…

    • B.C. Bird

      September 10, 2020 at 9:07 am

      Don’t flog a dead horse
      Keep the faith

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 10, 2020 at 9:30 am

      I hear that Justin Timberlake has deep pockets.

    • CalsPals

      September 10, 2020 at 11:47 am

      Lol…scares me, but you never can tell, Nashville Orioles sounds funny…go O’s…

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