BALTIMORE—The Orioles regular season concluded on a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, and now the team has five days off before it opens the Division Series against either the Tampa Bay Rays or Texas Rangers. That 2-of-3 wild-card series begins Tuesday at Tropicana Field.
The Orioles have an unusual break, and manager Brandon Hyde isn’t sure what to make of it.
“I don’t know about five days. I definitely would like a few,” Hyde said. “I think our guys could really use it just like September looked like in our calendar and our schedule and how much we pushed. The innings with our starters and our bullpen guys being on the high side because of not much track record, I think getting a few days off would be nice. Five is a little much.”
The Orioles will take Monday off, then play simulated games at Camden Yards.
“I’m looking forward to seeing who we’re going to play,” Hyde said.
A series between the Rays and Orioles, who played memorable games this season, could be compelling. The Orioles were 8-5 against Tampa Bay, but the teams each scored 48 runs in the 13 games.
“I feel like every team is really good, and every team has their strengths and they’re all going to be hard teams to play, Tampa included as we saw this year,” Hyde said. “The lineups that they put out there. We’re going to face really good pitching whoever we play, so it’s going to be a real challenge.”
The Orioles will have decisions to make on their roster. They’re currently carrying 28 players and can have only 26 in the postseason. The roster can be reset before each round.
Hyde wasn’t dropping any hints about the composition of the roster.
“Definitely depends on the opponent, for sure. We’ve started the discussion,” he said. “We have quite a bit of time. Hopefully, we get out of here totally healthy today. That’s my main focus more than anything to walk out of here like they walked in.”
Orioles lose sloppy finale: The Orioles had just two hits and committed three errors in their final regular-season game, losing to the Boston Red Sox, 6-1, on Sunday.
Kyle Bradish was limited to a two-inning start by Hyde. He struck out five and walked one in two hitless innings in preparation for the postseason.
“It’s been on my mind since we clinched, so very excited,” Bradish said. “Very proud. We knew what we had in spring training. To go out there and give it [our all], and more games to come, but 101 wins is pretty good.”
Bradish finished with a 2.83 earned-run average.
“It was a fun season, still a lot of work to do,” Bradish said. “Don’t try to look too much into stats.”
Gunnar Henderson made two errors, one at shortstop and one at third. Boston pulled off two double steals. Catcher James McCann threw wildly to third, allowing a run to score after the first double steal.
Cionel Pérez allowed four unearned runs in the seventh, though he walked three batters.
“Really proud of how we played for six months,” Hyde said. “We didn’t play our best baseball game today unfortunately in front of our home fans. How well we played this year, home and away, is definitely something to be proud of.”
Danny Coulombe (5-3) allowed two runs, one unearned, in the third.
Tanner Houck was the second consecutive Boston pitcher to allow one hit in six innings. Houck (6-10) didn’t allow a hit until Anthony Santander’s sixth-inning single with two outs. He struck out six and walked three.
“We had a really good year. We played hard all year long,” Santander said. “It’s time to take two days off and get back to work and come back stronger for the weekend.”
Adley Rutschman’s RBI single scored McCann in the bottom of the eighth.
Hyde used eight pitchers — Bradish, Coulombe, Tyler Wells, Shintaro Fujinami, DL Hall, Pérez, Yennier Cano and Cole Irvin, who was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk earlier in the day. Irvin retired the six batters he faced. Oriole pitchers recorded 16 strikeouts.
The game began at 3:05 p.m., a uniform starting time for the final game of the season.
“I thought it was important to play at this game time today,” Hyde said. “Possible postseason game time and see how harder it is to see. Sometimes in the postseason you get these unusual start times, and I thought it was important for our guys to play in front of that.”
The Orioles end the season 101-61. Boston was 77-85.
“When you’re playing for pride and playing for your record and playing for your numbers, you want guys not to get hurt, and I think we’re in good shape.” Hyde said.
The team acknowledged the 36,640 fans who came to Sunday’s game on the field after the game as the crowd applauded. The season attendance was 1,936,798, a rise of 568,431, and the highest for any year since 2017.
“I want to make sure we recognize our great fan base and all the support they gave us this year,” Hyde said. “Fortunately, we’ll be playing in front of them some more. We’re excited about that.”
Notes: Norfolk won the Triple-A championship late Saturday night, beating Oklahoma City, 7-6. Colton Cowser hit a grand slam and Connor Norby hit a two-run homer. …B ruce Zimmermann, who was the winning pitcher in Saturday night’s game, was optioned to Norfolk when Irvin was recalled. … Heston Kjerstad lost an RBI from Saturday night’s game. Boston second baseman Pablo Reyes was charged with an error on the play that allowed Ryan Mountcastle to score from second. … The Orioles hit just three home runs in their last 10 games.