In a 60-game schedule, it’s easy to look back and see what went right and what went wrong. After 20 games, the Orioles were 12-8, and there was optimism about what could happen in a short season.
In their next 20 games, the Orioles were 7-13, leaving them 19-21. Had it not for a three-game winning streak against the New York Yankees — the Orioles’ first wins against the Yankees after losing a franchise record 19 consecutive games to them — things would have looked worse.
On September 8th, they had one of their most potent offensive games of the season, an 11-2 win over the Mets that put them one game under .500, 20-21.
The next night, New York rightfielder Michael Conforto made a spectacular catch on a Rio Ruiz drive with the bases loaded, and it turned around the game. The Orioles eventually lost and, according to manager Brandon Hyde, it turned around the season, too.
That defeat to the Mets was one of 12 in the last 15 games. In those 12 losses, they scored just one run eight times and were shut out in another. September hasn’t been a good month.
Severino’s struggles: Pedro Severino was 2-for-3 in the 11-2 win over the Mets, leaving him with a .325 average.
Since then, the catcher has gone sharply south. Entering Thursday’s game at Boston, he’s hitless in his last 20 at-bats,and his average has plummeted to .258. He hasn’t driven in a run since August 30th, and he has faltered on defense, too.
Hyde holding exit interviews: Hyde said that he began exit interviews on Thursday at Fenway Park, and they’ll continue in Buffalo this weekend when the Orioles play their final three games against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“These last few weeks have been tough,” Hyde said. “Our guys’ numbers have dropped, pretty significantly, a lot of them. We’re going to talk about that and continue to try to get these guys better, discuss things they can work on in the offseason.”
Alberto and lefties: Last year’s big surprise was Hanser Alberto, who hit .305 overall and .398 against left-handers.
He, too, has slumped in September for the second straight season.
In 2019, Alberto hit .237 in the season’s last month and his batting average dropped 16 points from .321 to .305.
This season, Alberto was hitting .321 on September 1st, but he has hit just .206 this month and is down to .286.
Against left-handers, Alberto is hitting .356, but the Orioles aren’t facing the number of lefties they faced in 2019.
A year ago, left-handers started 62 of 162 games against the Orioles (38.2 percent). Martin Perez, a left-hander who starts on Thursday night for the Red Sox, is just the 13th left-handed starter the Orioles will face in 57 games (22.8 percent).
Hess recalled: Dean Kremer’s season ended after Wednesday’s start, and the Orioles recalled David Hess from the alternate site at Bowie, and optioned Kremer there.
Hess, who was on the five-man taxi squad, gives the Orioles an extra bullpen arm for the final four games.
In three games with the Orioles this season, Hess has a 6.43 ERA. Hess has a 4-20 record with a 5.86 ERA in parts of the last three seasons with the Orioles.
Kremer finishes the season 1-1 with a 4.82 ERA, although he struggled in only his final start on Wednesday, a 9-1 loss to the Red Sox.
Branden Kline, who also was on the taxi squad, was recalled when Evan Phillips went on the 10-day injured list because of right elbow inflammation. Phillips has returned to Baltimore to have his elbow examined.
Renato Núñez is out of the lineup Thursday because of a sore knee. José Iglesias, who left Saturday’s game after being hit by a pitch and suffering a bruised left wrist, is back in the lineup.