One of the early season storylines for the Baltimore Orioles has been the outfield play of Ryan Mountcastle. To be blunt, Mountcastle’s been suspect in the field. Misplaying balls, taking ineffective routes to collect balls, etc. With Austin Hays on the IL, fans should get used to Mountcastle in the outfield for the time being.
Manager Brandon Hyde has been steadfast in his support for Mountcastle in the outfield, and he very much believes in him. This is evidenced by Hyde’s commentary following an errant play Mountcastle made earlier this week in New York (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
I thought the ball came off hot, it’s windy, it hooked. I think it was a lack of experience, honestly, and I think we all have to remember that Ryan has not played much outfield. He did a nice job for the 30-plus games he was out there last year, he was a convert from last year, but it’s still going to be a new position. He’s going to make mistakes in the outfield. We’re OK with that. We’re going to be patient with him.
And while at times Mountcastle’s play is allowing base runners and runs to score, that’s unfortunately part of learning. It’s part of having a young team. It’s part of what GM Mike Elias and Brandon Hyde have been asking the fan base to buy into. This isn’t to say that they aren’t working with Mountcastle to help him to improve, but it’s all part of the process.
On a separate note, the Orioles and Orioles’ fans in the stands at Camden Yards yesterday became increasingly upset at some of the calls that went against the Birds. To be clear, the fourth inning strike/HBP involving Rio Ruiz could have gone either way. Upon looking at replay, it was probably a more reasonable call than previously thought.
I think Hyde’s issue with it was more the quick ejection as much as anything else. His comment after the game was that he asked one too many times how the umpires could see that as a swing. My personal opinion is that it was a pretty quick hook Especially for a hometown manager in his team’s home opener.
As the game went on there was the impression that close calls were persistently going Boston’s way. The hometown crowd took every opportunity they got to make their presence felt towards the umpires.
Here’s what folks need to remember; umpires don’t have a tally in their heads. At least they aren’t supposed to. They aren’t supposed to keep track of how many calls each team is getting. They’re supposed to call things as they see them. Now with that said, whether all of the calls are the correct calls is another story. But the story at least for yesterday was that there’s the impression that close calls went against the Orioles. Needless to say, Brandon Hyde didn’t need to be ejected as quickly as he was.