Calling the Pen: Hyde stands tall after Orioles extend losing streak to 12 -

Baseball Essays

Calling the Pen: Hyde stands tall after Orioles extend losing streak to 12

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

The Orioles had their worst moment of the season Saturday. Manager Brandon Hyde had his best.

After the Orioles dropped both games of a doubleheader with the Chicago White Sox to run their losing streak to 12, Hyde took questions from the media. There were no swings-and-misses.

Hyde has been criticized for not being more critical of his players. He seemed uncharacteristically blunt last Sunday after Austin Hays dropped a sacrifice bunt in the ninth inning of a one-run loss to the Nationals; it eventually led to the Nationals walking Trey Mancini with first base open. “No, absolutely 100 percent, no,” Hyde said about Hays’ decision.

He has talked about pitchers attacking the strike zone and hitters attacking less. But he doesn’t make it personal. He has been a pro with a team that is in short supply of them. He appreciates how John Means has stepped up and what Mancini has accomplished a year after having colon cancer surgery.

Hyde is not one who blames others or makes excuses. He knew what he was getting into when general manager Mike Elias hired him three years ago.

“I knew the job was going to be a lot of work, and it was going to be a rebuilding process. I did understand that,” Hyde said Saturday. “I am frustrated a little bit because you want to give the fans of Baltimore something to look forward to and something to hang their hat on, something positive. John Means is doing that. Trey Mancini, what he has done for the last three years, and you see what Santander has done. So those things are positive you want to kind of continue.”

He thought he saw promise in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season that might carry over to this season. It hasn’t worked out that way. Cedric Mullins has provided a spark in the leadoff spot and in center field but his partners in the outfield, Anthony Santander and Hays, have been slowed by injury, preventing the outfield from reaching its potential. It still shapes up to be a strength, but it’s a developing one.

Freddy Galvis has shown athleticism at shortstop and surprising power with nine home runs, and Maikel Franco is better than expected at third and can contribute offensively when he uses the whole field. Second base is in transition, and the catching has become a glaring weakness.

Designated hitter/first baseman Ryan Mountcastle epitomizes the Orioles’ rebuild. He hit .333 in 35 games in 2020, making the step up look almost easy. He has looked bad at times this year, chasing pitches out of the strike zone, particularly breaking balls, as pitchers exploit his aggressiveness. One gets the sense, though, that Mountcastle will make the adjustments he needs to make to be successful.


He is among those players who produce growing pains for a team in transition, a team that is trying to rebuild from top to bottom. A team that right now isn’t up to the challenge of the teams they’re facing. Hyde wants to win, wants to be competitive, but there is a bigger mission, and that is to make decisions on players such as Mountcastle and young pitchers such as Dean Kremer, Bruce Zimmermann, Keegan Akin and many others.

“We want to be able to compete in the big leagues,” Hyde said. “We’re finding out about our guys. That’s the bottom line. We have some guys we wanted to look at this year. We’re finding out about them from an evaluation standpoint and that’s good.

“But you want to put a competitive product out on the field. We’re facing good clubs that are built to win with starting pitching that is good. We have a tough time scoring runs.”

The Orioles haven’t had a hit with a runner in scoring position in the three games in Chicago. That has been a problem for most of the season. No one is more aware of it than Hyde.

“We look overmatched at times for me,” he said. “We have a really tough time with good starting pitching. And we have to get better offensively. We have to get better up here. It’s just going to take a little while.”

Hyde has been asked about the mental effect the losing streak is having. He said guys are pulling for each other in the dugout, that he doesn’t detect a change in attitude even if their confidence is being challenged. He also likes the competitive fire veteran starter Matt Harvey has shown at times because he said there are a lot of quiet players who might benefit from seeing that approach.

He pays close attention to what’s going on in Norfolk, Bowie and Aberdeen. He was encouraged by the promotion of pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez this week, and the power top prospect Adley Rutschman has been showing. He believes the future is bright, and he wants to be a part of it. But he’s not complaining about where he is, even thought there’s little joy in the job right now.

“It’s hard to lose, no matter if you’re rebuilding or you’re trying to win a pennant,” Hyde said. “It does stack up. From a coaching staff standpoint, we’re honest, but we also need to continue to pat guys on the back and kick guys in the butt. That’s our job and now it’s their job to perform.”

The Orioles lost two more games on Saturday, but their manager impressed with his candor — and his character.



  1. CalsPals

    May 30, 2021 at 7:32 am

    What’s the old saying, good pitching beats good hitting, probably puts 95% of the O’s season into perspective…wish him well, start throwing some bats around…lol…go O’s…

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    May 30, 2021 at 8:05 am

    I touched on this yesterday. Yes, I’m sure that Hyde must have had a sense of what he was getting into … but to what extent?

    Brandon Hyde is the only one who knows the answer to that question. My sense is that we’ll never really find out, because Hyde seems to be a stand up guy, and an exceedingly loyal employee. I sense too loyal for his own good.

    So where is Mike Elias in all of this? Seems to me he’s hiding somewhere behind the process and the plan. Wait for 2022, 2023, 2044 … so forth and so on. He never has stood up and taken a bullet for laying waste to this team. If he has, I haven’t seen it.

    Now here’s the real bitch as I see it. If Hyde doesn’t last the 4 to 7 years we’re looking at before this franchise wins again … what are the odds that any other major league franchise will ever give him another shot at managing?


    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 30, 2021 at 8:11 am

      I was remiss in stating that The Pen is always a nice change of pace. Good read this morning Jack, much appreciated.

      • Jack Gibbons

        May 30, 2021 at 9:07 am

        Thank you, Ken. And I appreciate your passion and insight.

        • Unoptionable-Option

          May 30, 2021 at 9:45 am

          Nice to see the online self admiration society group hug between Mr Hyperbole and Mr Negativity, real sweet way to start the morning! thanks gentlemen!

    • BarstoolSleeper

      May 30, 2021 at 8:30 am

      Elias gave an inning or inning and a half long interview just last week during a game with Garceau and Rich wrote about it on this site and correct me if I’m wrong but I think you even commented on it. So not sure where that hiding behind the process comment is coming from? He’s been nothing but straightforward about developing young talent and boosting the minor leagues. He didn’t say he was going to build a championship team by year 2.5 hahaha you guys are beating a dead horse with this argument.


        May 30, 2021 at 10:20 am

        Did the Boy Genius ever flat out admit he is TANKING like the Houston Cheaters did? If not, he has not been straightforward.

      • Hallbe62

        May 30, 2021 at 10:21 am

        Did he say it would last anywhere from 6-10 years ?

        Or that we would definitely be the laughing stock of MLB while he uses some of the saber metric tools he learned from Jeff Luhnow ?

        BSS….we’ll see where your “patience” meter is in 2-3 years if this lousy baseball continues without noticable improvement.

        Who knows…..catch you in the right mood, and we may see your patience meter move a little sooner than that.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 30, 2021 at 11:02 am

        First off, we’re not expecting a championship team in 2½ years. Simply having a major league team would suffice. Do you feel as though you’re watching a major league team? I know I don’t.

        As far as that interview goes, that is EXACTLY why I said he hides behind the process. That (the process of building Bowie/Aberdeen/Delmarva is ALL he talked about. He never mentioned the absolute lack of talent he finds for the big club. He should be embarrassed. Don’t you think he could have dived into a few dumpsters to find just a couple of decent players? Urias, Franco … Valdez? Yeah, he has quite the eye for talent.

        Sure, hopefully he’ll lead our team to many a victory next and in the coming years, but so far, this guy hasn’t shown me dick.

        Now as far as beating a dead horse, all I think I said today was the Hyde is being hung out to dry. That he is a stand up guy ….and that Elias hides from the current failures of the big club. I don’t believe I have EVER said any of those things before.

        • Phil770

          May 30, 2021 at 11:43 am

          All I would say is to ask that you be more respectful and perhaps tolerant when someone disagrees or doesn’t share your point of view. I, for one, think that anything but being positive coming from Elias publicly would be a totally, low-class move. He deserves a hefty share of criticism for not dealing with substantial holes in the IF. Hyde deserves a lot of criticism for how he has managed the pitching staff, which has gotten worse since Holt left the team. Having been a senior executive, I know, looking back, that I had overestimated some staff members to perform to the level and quality that I thought they could. Maybe I should have helped them more than I did. But my criticizing them in public was not going to be helpful, in fact I have seen it make matters worse.

    • Shamus

      May 30, 2021 at 8:55 am

      Well said ,Barstool

    • Old Orioles Fan

      May 30, 2021 at 9:32 am

      If a bum like Manny Acta still can get managerial and coaching jobs, there’s hope for Hyde. Hyde should look on the bright side…I’m sure not once in his baseball career was he ever compared to Frank Robinson in any way, shape, or form. He has an excellent chance of breaking one of Frank Robinson’s many Oriole records!

      Mike Elias’ epitaph will be: “iT’s a rEbUiLd!”

    • Georgia Oriole

      May 31, 2021 at 10:39 pm

      Elias acknowledges it. See this press conference:

      Patience… it’s coming. Look at how our minor league teams are dominating

  3. Orial

    May 30, 2021 at 8:14 am

    I see where the two must popular opinions concerning Hyde on this board and O’s(limited)fandom in general—are either fire him or feel sorry for him. How about ENVY him. No matter how bad or screwed up things can get he’s guaranteed his job. Warehouse looking the other way(out of sight out of mind). No pressure to win. Nice job if you can get it. Just think what a time to have Jamai Jones at 2B or Yusniel Diaz in RF in this dilapidated lineup finally showing us what they’ve got. Not meant to be. 21 strait losses or 115 season losses–where do our bets go?

  4. CalsPals

    May 30, 2021 at 9:35 am

    Someone mentioned Adam Jones as a manager, sounds interesting, very interesting….go O’s…

  5. Unoptionable-Option

    May 30, 2021 at 9:38 am

    Disagree with “Maikel Franco is better than expected at third”. Franco is having the worst season of his career by a wide margin.

  6. OrioleMaze

    May 30, 2021 at 10:30 am

    Last year’s team so much more enjoyable to watch. Why? Energy.
    Alberto and Iglesias just added spark and fun to the game that is sorely missed today.
    Management needs to learn if you’re interested in maturing your young players, you need to invest in their mentors. In the end, the extra money saved was minimal compared to the chemistry that was lost.
    Also, as fans we enjoy watching players having fun playing together. Santander, Severino and even Ruiz played better in that environment.
    I realize that ship has sailed so where do we go from here? How about making a few changes and getting some players on the field who are excited about being there?
    Example, bring in Austin Wynns for Sisco. He can’t hit any worse and you’re guaranteed to inject energy into this lineup. I realize there are a lot of Sisco fans here but I’ve never seen any energy or excitement out of him.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      May 30, 2021 at 10:58 am

      Mancini leading the league in RBIs has been fun to watch. If the team can’t look to his story for inspiration then idk what sparks them

    • CalsPals

      May 30, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      Barstool, some players cannot draw on quiet leadership, which is exactly what Trey brings to the table, not complaining, that’s who he is & we wouldn’t want him to change, some guys need a kick in the ass, we have no one to provide that, manager, coaches or players…again, while Mancinis story is inspiring, might not be what some of these guys need…go O’s…

    • Icterus fan

      May 30, 2021 at 1:55 pm

      It does seem to be a pretty vanilla and robotic sort of dispassionate team.
      Chicken and egg? I dunno.
      Does a “Rah Rah” guy get ‘em going? Or does winning collectively develop some optimism?

      None of these guys want to lose or languish in mediocrity. They want to succeed.

      As far as the “kick ‘em in the ass” approach, these are more softer kinder gentler times where coaches have to bury their anger and manage as though players are equals and pals in a collaborative approach.
      Hyde learned this from Joe Madden who had to learn how to manage millennials, remember…..

    • CalsPals

      May 30, 2021 at 3:01 pm

      Millennials, don’t need to say anymore…go O’s…

  7. BarstoolSleeper

    May 30, 2021 at 10:38 am

    Isn’t it ironic that the same people complaining about the losses and rebuild situation are the same folks wanting to rush Adley to the majors? What pick was he again? Oh that’s right, 1st overall.
    I don’t like watching losing baseball, frankly I’ve really only witnessed a handful of winning years that I can remember 2012-16, I remember a little of 96-97 but I was 9-10 years old then. This team, aside from the Davey Johnson and Buck years I’ve mentioned they’ve been floundering my whole life. So I’m glad to see they are trying something new with an actual plan in place. Building the minor system full of talent and making themselves present in the Latin American market. You can’t fault them from bringing in a regime to try to modernize the franchise to keep up with the direction of the league. C’mon guys, Matt Harvey is our #2 starter and he can’t get through 3-4 innings. This team isn’t winning this year. This is an evaluation year as Hyde himself stated. Patience is key this year.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 30, 2021 at 11:16 am

      But this is the 1st time in your life that they’ve lost on purpose. They’re losing, and it’s by design. Is that acceptable? Something else you’ve evidently never witnessed … you don’t have to lose to get better. Losing to bebuild is unethical at best. IMO …It’s a cheat … do you know that is why the NBA lottery exists? So that teams don’t lose to gain draft priority? This process is a low ball way of speeding up the process. And in the long run, it’s unsustainable.

    • Hallbe62

      May 30, 2021 at 11:56 am

      That’s the plan. Some of us are better at that than others. In regard to patience, I fall into the “others” group.

      I appreciate your perspective, even though it’s different from mine. That happens between generations.

      I think the O’s can “tweak” this process a little along the way by always having 2 bonafide Starting Pitchers in the rotation, with the rest of the team resembling what we see now (though improving each game)

      I realize that is a monumental request given current circumstances.

      But it instantly changes to a “reachable” request if the Angelos family increased player (and maybe hitting coaching) payroll to whatever is needed to keep 2 bleeding stoppers (I’d actually settle for 1) in the rotation.

      Only half the problem. Once the wallet opens again……… we’re going to need SALESMEN. In a big Amway Convention fashion.

      • Birdman

        May 30, 2021 at 12:39 pm

        I think most folks would agree that the biggest single weakness in the Orioles 2021 roster is the starting pitching … what would it have cost the Orioles to to have added two bona fide major league starters to the roster for 2021 – not star players, just experienced major league starters? maybe $5 or $6 million each … Does anyone really believe that the Orioles ownership would have possibly been willing to spend another $10 or $12 million on two starters, when the entire 14 man pitching staff has a payroll of about $9 million? That’s the core issue for this franchise, not whether Wynn or Severino is playing catcher.

  8. Orial

    May 30, 2021 at 11:02 am

    It seems,according to some,that those who show the most angst about the present state of Orioles play are the same ones being accused of being ignorant to the re-build and it’s significance. While that may true in some cases there are also a lot of those/Us who see ominous signs to leaving the Major League team in it’s present day dissaray–it’s called APATHY. This franchise is at a cross-roads. Without elaborating I think a lot of us can envision what OPACY will look like if this big league mess continues. Yes the most significant thing,and most of us do realize, is the re-build but we can’t ignore potential permanent damage that what we’re seeing may leave on the future of this franchise–again APATHY

    • TxBirdFan

      May 30, 2021 at 2:35 pm

      Well said Orial! Any good sales person will tell you that retention is a whole lot less expensive and time consuming than attracting new. Yet the O’s are putting no effort into retaining their fans. I’m not sure OPACY will survive.

  9. Orioles20

    May 30, 2021 at 11:31 am

    This team was never expected to compete. Galvis has been a pleasant surprise. But Franco has been atrocious. The young pitchers have also been a disappointment. I thought Kremer would have been better then this. Akin has not yet taking the next step. Zimmermann has been good. Harvey has been bad recently but I saw a stat yesterday that he leads the league in strikes that were called balls. I think the horrendous catching has something to do with that since neither one of them can frame. Sisco is actually the worse framer in the league according to fangraphs. As far as Hyde I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again his in game management is terrible. That’s part of the reason our bullpen is so blown out. He takes pitchers out to early and brings guys in in terrible situations.

    • Phil770

      May 30, 2021 at 12:03 pm

      Excellent assessment.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 30, 2021 at 12:48 pm

      So if they were never expected to compete (and I agree they weren’t), I’d rather they just not take the field. And if they were never expected to complete, charging admission and for beer and parking is dang near criminal.

      • kaj21206

        May 30, 2021 at 2:10 pm

        The fraud was pretending to compete from 98-11. This is truth in advertising. No one is forcing you to go to Camden Yards. You must of really liked 2018. You’ve complained about having two rule 5 guys on the roster this season. Didn’t the 2018 team have two or three at the start? The Orioles from my youth had a strong farm system. That is why we won from 66-83. Until the farm system is rebuilt, we’ll continue to be cellar dwellers. I’ll take a few horrible seasons to rebuild the farm.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          May 30, 2021 at 2:19 pm

          So what you’re saying is that they can’t rebuild without tanking. I simply disagree.

          And frankly, you contradict yourself when you state that during your youth, they won AND had a strong farm system. But in the next breath you state “I’ll take a few horrible seasons to rebuild the farm”.

          The teams of your youth won AND maintained a farm system. Why now do you accept tanking? No offense intended, Perhamps I just don’t understand what you’re saying.

    • Icterus fan

      May 30, 2021 at 1:58 pm


    • TxBirdFan

      May 30, 2021 at 2:39 pm

      I agree with BRR. Tanking needs to be outlawed.

  10. dlgruber1

    May 30, 2021 at 2:16 pm

    I’m happy to report from Bowie that Rutschman is 3 for 3 with a single from each side of the plate along with a HR batting RH. Baumann started the game and pitched 3 innings and gave up 1 run. Looking forward to seeing Hall pitch in game 2.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 30, 2021 at 3:51 pm

      Don’t tell us that … he’s not ready!

  11. Shamus

    May 30, 2021 at 2:51 pm

    Galvis playing hurt? If not he sure wasn’t running hard on that ground out. Or is he slow?

    • Icterus fan

      May 30, 2021 at 2:56 pm

      Yeah. I saw that too. No bueno

  12. Hallbe62

    May 30, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    Nice effort today Keegan !

    Enter the bullpen………enter the “L”

    • CalsPals

      May 30, 2021 at 3:55 pm

      Gonna get fugly…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      May 30, 2021 at 4:26 pm

      Tate, looks like he’s been out awhile, Severino looks like, well Severino…another decent start wasted…go O’s…

      • Hallbe62

        May 30, 2021 at 5:40 pm

        Back at it again tomorrow in Minneapolis. Go Birds

  13. TheGreek

    May 30, 2021 at 4:30 pm

    swept again today. tate looked awful. wish hyde would show more emotion after crappy plays in the field or pitching. maybe it would fire up the team. looks like we will draft #1 again which isnt a bad thing with the rebuild. just hoping the rebuild does not last 20 more years. some of these starters need to get into the 7th inning to help the bp out.

  14. dlgruber1

    May 30, 2021 at 5:15 pm

    Update from Bowie. AR DHing in game 2 has 2 hits including another HR. He’s 5 for 6. I guess that’s why most teams pitch around him.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 30, 2021 at 5:47 pm

      But he’s not ready. That’s what all the experts say.

    • CalsPals

      May 30, 2021 at 6:12 pm

      :)….go O’s…

  15. Gardenerose

    May 30, 2021 at 5:16 pm

    In 2019, the Orioles had dropped to 28th in home attendance at 1.3 million. At this rate we’ll soon drop to 30th and it will take forever to recover even if the O’s start to improve. Is destroying fan interest in watching/attending games a necessary step in improving the team ???

    • CalsPals

      May 30, 2021 at 5:42 pm

      Not sure if it’s a step, probably have to pick up a copy of Mikeys book, “No Moneyball” & see…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 30, 2021 at 5:45 pm

        Damn !! Are you telling me he already beat me to that title?

    • CalsPals

      May 30, 2021 at 6:13 pm

      I think “No Money or Balls” is still available…go O’s…

  16. Bhoffman1

    May 30, 2021 at 5:52 pm

    With all this chatter I say as long as the Angelos own this team they will never compete. You need to add one or two top players thru free agency and I believe the Davis debacle possibly the worst contract in baseball history and all the other problems the kids have they aren’t spending real money. As far has having a competitive team during rebuild look at the Giants this year. They are in a rebuild but still put a competitive team on the field. As for Elias he supposed to be so smart with analytics and teaching the young guys yet in my opinion he has the worst pitching and batting coaches on his team maybe because he has to look in the bargain basement.

    • Bhoffman1

      May 30, 2021 at 6:13 pm

      The Mets just called up Mason Williams as he’s been tearing up the international league. Remember he had a great spring before the pandemic but didn’t make the club after having a all star year at Norfolk. I’m only posting this to kid Rich but seriously I hope they give him a chance. Gausman is going to be 6 and 0 after today. He could have been a franchise pitcher here. Hopefully Elias will nurture the young arms Hall and Rod and they will star here in one or two years

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 30, 2021 at 7:25 pm

      Bruce, the Giants’ position players average age is 31.2. Evan Longoria is 35, Buster Posey and Brandon Crawford are both 34, Brandon Belt and Donovan Solano are 33. Please explain your definition of a rebuild.

    • Bhoffman1

      May 30, 2021 at 7:40 pm

      I read that Rich in a article I didn’t make it up. So I’m only quoting what I read

    • BarstoolSleeper

      May 30, 2021 at 8:26 pm

      Bhoff, as long as angelos own the team they will never compete? We’re you hibernating when they were in the ALCS 7 seasons ago?

  17. Gardenerose

    May 30, 2021 at 9:03 pm

    Despite the Angelo’s family continued denials of moving the team, this driving down of the attendance using the excuse of rebuilding will be used to justify moving the team to a new city. Under the current contract, this is the 30th year on the contract with the stadium authority. They did agree recently to add 2 more years, but after that the attendance might be low enough to justify a move.

    • 33d St

      May 30, 2021 at 10:37 pm

      It’s like watching the last couple Irsay years all over again. Team is terrible. No one goes to games. Owner says “this market is terrible – no one goes to games” and uses that to justify moving.

      Fool us once….

    • dlgruber1

      May 30, 2021 at 11:45 pm

      33rd St, it’s funny you mentioned “that other guy” (I refuse to ever let his name pass my lips again) as his son has run that franchise very successfully since his father died. I posted just tonite on one of the other pieces on this site if readers thought Angelos’ sons could become better owners than their father after he passes. Jim, the son of that other owner of the Colts, has had some personal issues but has been a fully committed and successful owner for them in Indianapolis. I’m hoping John Angelos does the same in Baltimore. What happened in 1984 is always in the back of my mind tho.

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