BALTIMORE—During the final weeks of the regular season and as preparation for the postseason winds down, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has often been asked if he’s talked with his former boss with the Chicago Cubs, Joe Maddon.
The question is a natural one because as Cubs manager in 2016, Maddon won a World Series, their first since 1908. The curse Hyde is trying to break is a mere 40 years old.
Besides Maddon, Hyde regularly turns to his bench coach, Fredi González, who as manager of the Atlanta Braves has two years of postseason experience, as a wild card in 2012, and in the National League Division Series a year later.
“We spoken a little bit,” González said. “The other day, he asked me how many games I’ve managed in the postseason. Not as many as Joe Maddon and those guys. I think I have five. The experience I gained from going to those five games, it’s fast. You don’t necessarily need to give a long leash to the starter because you have the offense built in. You have to be prepared to make moves and be unconventional at times.
“The biggest thing for me is it’s fast and everything’s under the microscope. If something doesn’t work out, it gets dissected until the next game.”
González believes managers can waste time in the postseason worried about matters that are simply irrelevant or uncontrollable: “Which starter fits best? What’s the weather going to be on Saturday? If it gets rained out, will we play on Monday, and who’s going to start?
“You can spend a lot of time and energy trying to go over those things and trying to cover those things. Sometimes that’s a little too much … At the end, it’s baseball, but it’s baseball on turbocharge.”
González has worked with Hyde with the Orioles since 2020.
“I’ve seen him change because the team has changed,” he said. “He’s got a little Joe Maddon in him. He’s not afraid to go against the norm. Us together, we’ve kind of pushed each other and sometimes pushed the envelope. Sometimes, [the situation calls] for a bunt, and we may hit-and-run, especially late in the game.
“He does such a great job anticipating and reading the game and really he does a great job handling the bullpen … Obviously the better bullpen pieces you have, the better bullpen manager you are. He’s never underprepared. He’s really prepared. He’s never asked me an easy question. Every time he asks me a question, it’s a tough one, but I think he’s going to be fine.”
González’s Braves lost the NLDS to the Los Angeles Dodgers in four games, and he was criticized because he didn’t bring in closer Craig Kimbrel with a one-run lead and one out in the eighth inning. González would have brought Kimbrel in for a four-out save, but not a five-out save.
Juan Uribe hit a two-run home run off David Carpenter for a 4-3 Dodgers lead, and a quick end to the series.
“For three years, it was: ‘Why didn’t you bring Kimbrel in?’ Whether it was right or wrong, we never used Kimbrel two innings,” González said.
“Those little things you get lambasted for because it’s the playoffs and rightfully so, but I think he’s going to be great. He’s sharp. He listens to everybody. He talks to everybody, and he makes a decision.”
Santander ready for Rangers: Anthony Santander says the Orioles are ready to face the Texas Rangers in Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Saturday at 1:03 p.m.
“They’re a pretty good team,” he said. “Honestly, we were waiting for either one, and we’re just preparing ourselves to compete on Saturday. It doesn’t matter. They have good pitching and offense. Being relaxed and prepared for this two days before Saturday.”
Friday schedule: Friday is media day with interviews and workouts for both the Orioles and Rangers, who arrived in Baltimore on Thursday afternoon.
Game 1 and Game 2 on Sunday at 4:07 p.m. will be seen on FoxSports1. Game 3 at Texas will be played on Tuesday at 8:07 p.m. and shown on FOX. Game times for Games 4 and 5, if necessary, have not been determined.