Midday Mailbag: Does Brandon Hyde go to the bullpen at the right time? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Midday Mailbag

Midday Mailbag: Does Brandon Hyde go to the bullpen at the right time?

Photo Credit: David Dermer USA TODAY Sports

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Every weekday, I’ll be answering at least one Orioles question. If you’d like to submit a question, send it to: [email protected]. Questions may be edited for clarity, length and style.

Question: Why does Brandon Hyde make wrong decision on pitching changes more times than he needs to? On Friday night, he took Dean Kremer out too early and on Saturday night, he left Corbin Burnes in too long.  I think we need the new ownership to took long and hard at Hyde. This team is too good to lose games on his bad decisions. From: Dave Leatso via Facebook

Answer: Dave, knowing when to change pitchers and who to call in from the bullpen are the most difficult and most often criticized of all managers’ decisions, and I think Hyde does a fine job in handling the bullpen.

In the case of Burnes, Hyde wanted to get him through six innings, and the Orioles had a 7-0 lead until he allowed a three-run home run to Salvador Perez.

With Cole Irvin and Albert Suárez starting the next two games, Hyde knew he might need the bullpen for more than three innings in both those games, though Irvin was able to give the Orioles 6 2/3 innings on Sunday. The bullpen was needed for 3 1/3 innings on Monday night.

Managers are not just thinking about the game they’re playing, but how their moves may impact the following games. After all, the Orioles did win 101 games last year, and Hyde was overwhelmingly named the American League Manager of the Year.

On Opening Day, in his first press conference as lead owner, David Rubenstein said that he thought Hyde was the best manager in baseball, and I don’t think his opinion has changed.

Question: As was the case for much of last year, the entire AL East is at or above .500, and the West has only one team above that level.  It’s become ridiculous that some MLB divisions have so many noncompetitive teams.

Despite the addition of another wild-card team, and the wise decision to cut back on the number of head-to-head games within the division, it seems MLB still has a problem.

Is there any thinking about realignment?  Obviously, key rivalries would need to be maintained, and geography still exists, but it seems like there could be a lot of imaginative thinking here. What’s the status of such discussions, if any? From: Kevin Whitaker

Answer: Kevin, if there is realignment, it would have to be approved by both the owners and the Players Association, and my sense is that it’s not a big issue in the negotiations that will be coming up in two years. The contract is up after the 2026 season.

Realignment has been talked about loosely if and when baseball expands from 30 to 32 teams. Both the players and owners would like that. It means 52 new jobs for major league players and large expansion fees paid by new owners to the current owners.

Rob Manfred, who’ll be leaving his post as commissioner in 2029, has said he’d like to see baseball ready for expansion by the time he leaves office, and he wants to see the uncertainty of the Athletics’ and Rays’ stadiums settled before expansion will be considered.

It will be economics and geography that dictate realignment, and not how teams are performing since that’s often cyclical.

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