Baltimore Orioles: Brandon Hyde pushed almost all the right buttons

Thomas Eshelman got the start this afternoon in the series finale for the Baltimore Orioles in Anaheim. As had been the case for Oriole starters all year, he was simply a holdover until the next pitcher. Eshelman’s line: 4.0 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 0 BB, 1 K.

Eshelman loaded the bases in the first inning before recording so much as an out. However to his credit he limited the damage. Walsh’s RBI-double and Gosselin’s RBI-single gave Anaheim a 2-0 lead. Ohtani and Rendon would each homer in the third (solo shots), and Anaheim led 4-0.

The O’s on the flip side, couldn’t seem to muster so much as a base runner. But after Anaheim starter Sandoval left the game, things started to happen. The Birds got on the board in the sixth when Ramon Urias smacked an RBI-double. DJ Stewart would follow with a two-RBI double, cutting the Anaheim lead to 4-3. And putting true Orioles back in the game.

Manager Brandon Hyde had given Cedric Mullins at least the first part of the day off. But he summoned Mullins to pinch hit in the sixth with the Birds trailing by the aforementioned score of 4-3. And Mullins delivered, smacking an RBI-single, tying the game. About as clutch as it gets.

But he wasn’t done yet. Mullins would homer in the top of the ninth with the score still tied at four, giving the O’s the lead at 5-4. Hyde then summoned Cole Sulser for the save, who promptly loaded the bases once again. Lagares’ two-RBI double would eventually win it for Anaheim, sending the O’s home.

It’s worth mentioning that Brandon Hyde pushed all of the right buttons in this game. He got Eshelman out when he needed to, and he inserted Mullins as a pinch hitter at just the right time. And it appeared to work. Until it didn’t.

Unfortunately the Orioles don’t appear to have anyone in the bullpen who’s capable of holding a narrow lead in the ninth. And that isn’t Hyde’s fault. Someone has to pitch there. And it’s not an issue of “stuff.” It’s an issue of confidence. Hyde appeared very frustrated after the game:

Pretty irritated, so it’s tough to process right now. Yeah, we swept Houston, we get left on the field here first night, lose by three the second night and left on the field the third game. Definitely in two of the three games here after we just swept Houston. So it’s frustrating to not win these sort of games. When we have the lead, with our record the way it is, it’s nice to win. And so it’s disappointing giving a game like this away.

Quote courtesy of Steve Melewski, MASNsports

Hyde knew that he did everything correctly. Sulser and others just need to be more fearless out there. One thing in baseball and in life; of you’re afraid, it usually shows.

During the game Cedric Mullins was named as a reserve on the American League All-Star team. As of now, he’s the lone Orioles’ representative. He not only deserves to be there, but he should be starting.

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