BALTIMORE—The Orioles play the second game of a three-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday night. They trail the Blue Jays, leaders in the wild-card competition, by three games and are only a game behind the Seattle Mariners for the third and final wild-card spot.
Manager Brandon Hyde is closely watching the standings and monitors games of the teams they’re chasing.
“I tried to stay up for the Seattle game, but I checked it this morning, “ Hyde said. On Monday night, the Mariners lost to the New York Yankees in a game that ended after 1:30 a.m.
“When you’re in August, you start paying attention,” Hyde said. “After our games, I’m always watching the Midwest games and then the West Coast games, maybe a little differently now that we’re in August.”
Last year, the Orioles were 38-72 on August 9th.
“It wasn’t a lot of fun looking at our records the last couple of years,” Hyde said, laughing. “It’s a lot more fun this year. This year is a little bit different than the last couple of years.”
Centerfielder Cedric Mullins is one of the more senior Orioles. He made his debut nearly four years ago, on August 10th, 2018, and this is his first time in a playoff push. He said he doesn’t follow the standings as closely as his manager.
“I think I’ve done it maybe once,” Mullins said. “It was for a brief moment, just to try and get an idea of where we’re at. I was like, ‘we’re right there,’ so we’re past that, and I’m just focusing on the day-to-day grind of coming out here and playing as hard as I can for this team, and trying to get as many wins as possible and move forward.”
Mullins said there’s a different feel this season.
“I’d said there’s just a different confidence of how we go about our business day-to-day,” he said. “There’s an expectation now, which is good, that we’re going to win, and it’s a good feeling. There’s a lot of positive energy that comes from that, and guys are embracing it.”
Baker’s Blue Jay connection: Reliever Bryan Baker is the only Oriole who played for the Toronto Blue Jays, spending three seasons in the Blue Jays’ organization. He made his major league debut for them on September 5th, 2021 with a scoreless inning.
That was Baker’s only major league appearance until this season. Baker was claimed on waivers by the Orioles on November 8th, 2021.
Baker said he enjoys competing against the Blue Jays.
“There’s probably an extra edge, just being with that organization for three years and knowing some of those guys,” Baker said. “It’s definitely a little different than facing other teams.
“Any time you play anybody in the division, you really want to win. We’re obviously going to be real familiar with these guys the last couple of months of the year. It should be interesting. It seems like it’s always a competitive matchup with these guys.”
Baker hasn’t been passing on any tips to his fellow relievers about Blue Jay hitters.
“Not really. I was there for such a short time last year and guys pick up new tendencies from year-to-year,” he said. “I haven’t really been able to help our guys out too much. I think for the most part, the way we’re going to have success as a staff is to go out there and do our thing, anyway and have to make them adjust to us.
“We’re going to bring the game to them and make adjustments off that. I think not much is needed out of me. I think if we just go out there and do our thing, we’ll be all right.”
Notes: Alexander Wells, who’s on the 60-day injured list because of left elbow inflammation, begins a rehab assignment with the Florida Complex League Orioles tonight. … Designated hitter/outfielder DJ Stewart, who’d been on the minor league injured list, has been moved to Triple-A Norfolk’s active list.