Orioles win fourth straight behind Means, who responds to Hyde's 'tough talk'; Offense helps with four homers - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Orioles win fourth straight behind Means, who responds to Hyde’s ‘tough talk’; Offense helps with four homers

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

NEW YORK—Through his first six starts, John Means couldn’t put a complete performance together. He’d given up two homers in each of his last three outings and hadn’t gotten through six innings.

In the first of six games played in New York against the Mets and Yankees this week, Means was superb, allowing just a run on three hits in six innings as the Orioles won for the fourth straight time, 11-2, over the Mets at Citi Field on Tuesday night.

Means struck out five and walked one, allowing only Jake Marisnick’s home run in the second. He retired 11 straight at one point in picking up his first win since last September 28th.

“It was just staying more relaxed,” Means said in his postgame video conference call. “I forced a lot of things, trying to get strikeouts, trying to blow it by everybody. That’s not how I pitch. That’s not me.”

Manager Brandon Hyde called him into his office for what Means called “a tough talk,” and it helped.

“He told me this isn’t me. This isn’t how I pitch. This isn’t who I should be. I was getting frustrated, I was getting upset and angry with myself. To be able to relax out there and be myself, that really helped me.”

Hyde said he felt the talk was necessary.

“I believe in communication. I believe in being honest,” he said. “I thought we had a nice conversation on what he did well last year, who he is, what kind of pitcher he is, going back to some things that he did very, very well last year. To me, that’s a major league starter in this league for a long time. I felt like he was getting away from that. I wanted to see the poise on the mound that he showed last year.

“I thought he looked really discouraged a lot. I didn’t like his mound presence. I didn’t like his demeanor on the mound. I thought he was  pitching out of frustration instead of pitching to win.”

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The Orioles improved to 20-21 and, with the Yankees losing for the fifth straight time, 2-1 to Toronto, they’re just one-half game out of the final American League wild-card slot.

The 11 runs equal their Orioles’ season high, but what pleases Hyde is that his players are overcoming difficulties.

“We’ve got a lot of nagging injuries, a lot of nagging things going on in our clubhouse right now,” Hyde said. “And our guys are continuing to push, continuing to play the game the right way. I’m really happy how we played the game tonight, the score, we don’t have many of those type of games.”

Means got more than enough run support. The Orioles hit four home runs, equaling their season high.

DJ Stewart hit his fourth in the last three games, a two-run shot in the second, Ryan Mountcastle hit his fourth, another two-run homer, in the third, and Rio Ruiz hit his eighth, a three-run home run in the fifth. Pat Valaika added his sixth, in the eighth inning.

“These guys come up, they just bring more energy,” Ruiz said of the Orioles’ recent additions.

“It’s fun to build on. You see guys doing well. You see Mounty swinging the bat well, and you just want to continue that, and DJ coming up and getting some big homers. That’s huge.”

In the last three games, the Orioles’ young starters — Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer and Means — have pitched brilliantly.

“The Orioles should be very excited for the future,” Means said. “For the guys coming up, it’s exciting to see those guys pitch. To see guys make their debuts and have that joy of the game, it helps me getting that joy back. I haven’t been having very much fun pitching the last few outings.

“To see those guys go out there the past few outings, they’re happy to be here. They’re joyful. They’re excited to get out on the field. It helps me seeing that.”

Means threw 97 pitches, grappling only in the sixth when he threw 27 pitches and walked his only hitter. His ERA fell from 8.10 to 6.58.

“This is the first time I’ve felt like myself,” Means said. “I just got a slight mentality change, I think [is] what caused me to have everything going tonight. It’s the best I’ve felt all year. Going into summer camp, I didn’t feel like this. It’s nice to get back there.”

Mets starter Michael Wacha gave up five runs, four earned, on seven hits in four innings. Robert Gsellman allowed six runs on six hits in 3 2/3 innings.

Besides the home runs, Cedric Mullins had a single, double and triple, driving in Valaika in the fourth after he reached on a two-base error when Marisnick, playing center, muffed his fly ball. Mullins had missed the previous two games with an undisclosed injury.

José Iglesias continued his excellence with two more hits, including an RBI single, to score the 11th run Iglesias is hitting .396.

Travis Lakins pitched a scoreless inning, and Asher Wojciechowski, in his first relief outing of the year, allowed a home run to New York’s Jeff McNeil in the eighth.

Coming up: Jorge López will pitch against Rick Porcello in the final game of the two-game series on Wednesday night at 7:10.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

29 Comments

29 Comments

  1. Eastern Sho Joe

    September 9, 2020 at 7:15 am

    Rich, you had the question of the night with Hyde. Good job.

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 9, 2020 at 9:56 am

      Thank you, Joe.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 9, 2020 at 10:14 am

      Would you please elaborate on what you’re referring to ?

      • Eastern Sho Joe

        September 9, 2020 at 4:22 pm

        Post game news conference. Rich asked Hyde about the content in his talk with Means, but Rich worded it in I way that left no room to sway off topic.

  2. Orial

    September 9, 2020 at 8:14 am

    You can see the difference in Means–smooth windup,exploding well placed fastball,and had the change-up working. A lot to be encouraged about these days. Gotta wonder about CF. Mullins a HR short of the cycle,probably baseball’s best bunter,pretty much a given SB when he gets on. If/when Hays gets back will he have a fight getting back into the OF? Then again Santander’s injury opened things up a bit. Nice to see you back Chris(Davis) now just stay right where you are. Take from Mets broadcast team–(paraphrase)”impressed how much the Orioles hustle”.

  3. Orial

    September 9, 2020 at 8:14 am

    You can see the difference in Means–smooth windup,exploding well placed fastball,and had the change-up working. A lot to be encouraged about these days. Gotta wonder about CF. Mullins a HR short of the cycle,probably baseball’s best bunter,pretty much a given SB when he gets on. If/when Hays gets back will he have a fight getting back into the OF? Then again Santander’s injury opened things up a bit. Nice to see you back Chris(Davis) now just stay right where you are. Take from Mets broadcast team–(paraphrase)”impressed how much the Orioles hustle”.

  4. Boog Robinson Robinson

    September 9, 2020 at 9:06 am

    Great job by Means last night. The fastball was well placed and the off speed stuff seemed to have the Mets off balance for most of the game. I’m also impressed with the way he got right back on track after allowing that 1st inning tater to Marisneck. Frankly, I was starting to think that his performance last year was an anomaly. Hopefully we’ll see more of this from Means going forward.

    And how’s about my boys (Duquette’s actually) Mullins & Stewart? Right now, it’s looking like it’s a good thing they weren’t given up on ‘eh fellows? I was always a shill for Mullins, but Stewart is starting to look like a major leaguer as well. And he’s not “fat”.

    Off topic here, bur I have a question for one Ben McDonald. Now that Means’ ERA is under 7.0, will he stop referring to it as “an elevated ERA”? At what point exactly does McDonald stop giving the number and instead call it “elevated”. 6.0 ? 6.5? 7.2 or above? (drives me nuts …give the number!)

  5. mmcmillan1123

    September 9, 2020 at 10:09 am

    Yes the O’s are really hustling! I’ve never seen so many infield hits and bunts for hits as I have this year. Nothing is more fun than to see a player beat out a slow roller for a hit or keeping a inning alive by hustling up the line to keep a double play from happening. And how about all the opposite field hitting this year! Old school baseball played by young talented players. I love it!

  6. Bhoffman1

    September 9, 2020 at 10:30 am

    You gotta play Hays in CF when he gets back possibly in a few days. Yet the way Mullins is playing and DJ ( baby Ruth) it’s creates a logjam. Plus next year with Santlander in RF , Diaz on the way up and Mancini in the OF if Crash Davis is still here all of a sudden we have a abundance of outfielders plus the number one draft choice waiting in the wings

    • Birdman

      September 9, 2020 at 10:39 am

      No knock on Hays, but I don’t think his pre-injury performance (1 HR, .203 BA) earned him the right to simply step-in and replace Mullins as the starting CF. With only 19 games left in the season (unless we make the playoffs), I would stick with Mullins.

      • JamesJerry2

        September 9, 2020 at 12:38 pm

        Mullins has definitely earned the right to stick in the lineup for now but still not sold on his long term fit in an everyday role, especially considering the talent we have coming up. But I think they should try Hays in RF for as long as Mullins continues to contribute. Hays should definitely slide right back in over Stewart at least, I don’t think there’s any question who’s the more talented player. 4 homers is nice and all but a .185 avg, weak arm and defense, and major strikeout concerns… Whats the difference with him and Dwight Smith Jr

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 9, 2020 at 10:48 am

      This problem reminds me of Rettenmund, Robinson, Blair & Buford. Though “a problem” is not really what I’d call it. We just have to ask ourselves, “what world Earl do”?

    • CalsPals

      September 9, 2020 at 12:02 pm

      The way Mullins is playing right now I would find it hard to just insert Hays back into the lineup, on a regular basis, and I’m a huge fan of Hays, but I’m a bigger fan of performance…go O’s…

    • Bancells Moustache

      September 9, 2020 at 3:22 pm

      I agree. You shouldn’t lose your job because of injury, but Hays didn’t exactly set the world afire when healthy. Let the young men battle It out on the field. Maybe Mullins stays hot and looks like a permanent fixture, maybe he falters and Hays supplants him. Let’s see the show. That’s what makes this “rebuilding” period interesting.

  7. millboy

    September 9, 2020 at 11:00 am

    I recall Rettenmund being the “4th” outfielder, but Earl kept him involved to keep him fresh…gave the regulars days off to keep them fresh also

  8. sportscoper

    September 9, 2020 at 12:21 pm

    Rich….Mullins’ absence recently was kind of mysterious. Any insight?

  9. dlgruber1

    September 9, 2020 at 2:23 pm

    So after hearing complaints about Hyde all season who is ready to give him any credit for the teams play this season? As far as I’m concerned he should be a leading candidate for Manager of the Year. To have this team in the thick of playoff contention coming off a season they only won 1/3 of their games is pretty damn good. This team really reminds me of the “Why Not” team of 1989. That team was coming off a 107 loss season and had no expectations and went down to the final weekend with a chance to win the division. This team won’t win the division but to even have a shot at the playoffs with 19 games to go is a wonderful surprise to all of us I’m sure. Hyde has done a great job.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 9, 2020 at 5:56 pm

      Although, it’s a hard argument to make against your assertation, I’m far from giving Hyde a boatload of credit. I’m of the opinion that the O’s relative success is a confluence of extremely low expectations, a group of hungry young players trying to stay in the league, the competition in both Eastern divisions sinking to unforeseen lows and in general, and generally speaking, the year of 2020 where the universe’s laws have been tipped upside down.

      But here we sit hoping to make the playoffs and at this point, I guess that I’d have to agree with you that Brandon Hyde has to be a strong candidate for Manager of the Year. (but still I give as little credit to him as possible … how bizarre)

    • CalsPals

      September 9, 2020 at 6:09 pm

      Elias for executive of the year?…go O’s…

      • sportscoper

        September 9, 2020 at 10:43 pm

        Elias for Exec of Year? Because players Dan Duquette left behind? I don’t think so.

    • CalsPals

      September 10, 2020 at 6:04 pm

      Believe me, that was 100% tongue in cheek, not a fan…looks like another newer guy…go O’s…

  10. CalsPals

    September 9, 2020 at 5:45 pm

    Justin Timberlake part of a group trying to bring MLB to Nashville, FYI, others have indicated the O’s might move there, I hope not…go O’s…

    • Rich Dubroff

      September 9, 2020 at 5:52 pm

      No one with any credibility has indicated that the Orioles might move, Ray. I have tried to knock that down on numerous occasions. It is not happening. You, or anyone else need not ask about it because it isn’t happening.
      in
      ing.

    • CalsPals

      September 9, 2020 at 5:54 pm

      Didn’t ask about it, as indicated, just FYI because many others have asked about it…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      September 9, 2020 at 5:59 pm

      Rich guffaws this every time I’ve ever brought it up in the past. His reason is because Camden is a jewel of the league. I don’t discount it and my reason is $$$.

    • CalsPals

      September 9, 2020 at 6:07 pm

      Rich sounds like he’s having a bad day, also in the Nashville group, Dave Dombrowski…go O’s…

      • Jbigle1

        September 9, 2020 at 10:04 pm

        No one is saying that Nashville won’t get a team. Rich is just telling you it’s not going to be the O’s. And he’s right.

        There’s other obvious candidates to move. The Nashville group is looking for an expansion team anyhow.

  11. Bhoffman1

    September 9, 2020 at 5:47 pm

    Mike Elias on Mad Dog today said Hyde has more major league experience then him. Very humble

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