Results tagged ‘ Brandon Hyde ’

Baltimore Orioles: Another bludgeoning of Pittsburgh

The Baltimore Orioles defeated Pittsburgh by a wide margin once again this afternoon. Brandon Bailey got the start for the Birds, and in the short span he was in the game, he was dominant. Bailey’s line: 2.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 0 K.

I do find it interesting, and perhaps a little bit refreshing that manager Brandon Hyde seems to be giving several prospects a good hard look. By that, I mean starts in games. It would appear that the Birds are holding a true open tryout for the starting rotation. Certainly the Means’ and Cobb’s of the world are in, but they seem intent on bringing the five best starters they can find home at the end of March.

The Orioles struck early against Pittsburgh once again, with Ryan Mountcastle doubling a run home in the first inning. Later in the inning Rio Ruiz scored on a wild pitch. And the O’s were off to the races.

The O’s proceeded to get a two-RBI single out of Hanser Alberto in the second, and RBI-singles from Richie Martin and Andrew Velazquez in the third. That put them ahead 6-0 after just three innings. And it left fans wondering if this might be what could be expected come the regular season.

What I would say is that folks should keep in mind that the Orioles don’t play Pittsburgh everyday. But they certainly have made an impression against Pittsburgh these past two days. Yesterday in Sarasota, and today in Bradenton at Pittsburgh’s spring facility.

Unlike yesterday however, Pittsburgh did have a highlight. Murphy’s fourth inning grand slam cut the Orioles’ lead to 6-4. That home run didn’t need to be wind-aided. It was actually against the wind, and got way out of the park.

However the good news is that after being punched in the mouth, the O’s fought back. Dwight Smith Jr. grounded into an RBI in the fifth inning, and Richie Martin‘s bases-clearing triple ran the score to 10-4. And odds are Pittsburgh wasn’t coming back from that. For good measure, Dilson Herrera would tack on an RBI-triple in the seventh, closing out an 11-4 win for the O’s over Pittsburgh. With the win, the Birds evened their record at four wins and four losses on the spring.

The Orioles return to Ed Smith Stadium tomorrow afternoon to take on the Miami Marlins. Prospect Keegan Akin gets the start for the Birds, and he’ll be opposed by Miami’s TBD. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.

Baltimore Orioles: Who starts on Sunday?

Many fans will want to know who gets the ball in the Baltimore Orioles’ spring opener on Saturday against Atlanta. And for sure, it’ll mean something when manager Brandon Hyde tells us who it’s going to be. That will happen sometime between now and Saturday!

But keep in mind that many starters and/or regular players don’t play in road games during spring. At least not until the end of the spring. So whether Saturday gives us a fair representation of who might be in the rotation might be tough to gauge.

That’s why Orioles fans should be more in tuned with who starts on Sunday afternoon against Boston. That’ll be the “home opener” in Sarasota for the Birds. And generally the regulars will play in the home games. So it stands to reason that whomever gets that assignment might be looking to be in the rotation.

Baltimore Orioles: Flu bug biting the Birds

One thing that manager Brandon Hyde had learned about managing the Baltimore Orioles is how precarious guys’ health can be. And I’m not talking about labrums, quads, knees, etc. I’m talking the flu.

Pitchers and catchers reported last week, and sure enough so did the flu bug. All it takes is one guy to have something, and suddenly the entire clubhouse is at risk. All the Orioles can really do is send guys home when they’re taken ill. And that’s exactly what they do.

However the problem is that with any virus you’re at your most contagious in the 24 hours before you show symptoms. So you could be exposing other guys and not know it. Kind of a big issue.

This happens to almost every team on an annual basis. Last year it happened to the O’s in April – during the regular season. That’s certainly worse than having it happen now. It just goes to show you that players aren’t superhuman. They’re just as susceptible to germs and virus’ as you and I.

Baltimore Orioles: How often to play starters this spring?

Baltimore Orioles’ pitchers and catchers are due to report to Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota for Spring Training three weeks from yesterday (February 11th). It’s going to happen – ready or not! Roughly a week later position players will be due to report, and February 22nd is the Grapefruit League opener on the road against the Atlanta Braves.

What will the lineup look like that day for the Orioles? Which players get the plush travel assignment that morning from manager Brandon Hyde, and get to play “on the road” against Atlanta? How often veterans or starters find themselves wearing gray during the spring is always an interesting topic.

I would submit that Oriole “regulars” should be seeing as much time as possible in these spring games. This is a very important spring training for the O’s, as they want to make some strides this year. And it all starts in the spring.

It’s a tough line to walk at times because Brandon Hyde will also want to get a look at some younger players, and some minor leaguers. And you do have to be fair to those guys about getting them into games and giving them time to develop. However the “regulars” could also benefit from appearing in an additional game or two above the slate of home games at Ed Smith Stadium.

This isn’t to say that the regulars get the day off when the team’s on the road and they aren’t on the travel roster. They stay behind at the complex, work out, take batting practice, etc. It’s still very much a full work day for them. But nothing beats live games.

Baltimore Orioles: Is sports knowledge too commonplace?

The Baltimore Orioles lucked out when they hired Brandon Hyde. In him they got a good baseball man who had worked his way up the coaching ranks. And it in fact appears that he’s being given full autonomy to do what he wants to do with the team on the field.

I heard a disturbing story over the weekend regarding the Cleveland Browns (of the NFL) and their new head coach, Kevin Stefanski. First off, Stefanski’s a guy who could be seen as similar to Hyde. He’s worked his way up the coaching ranks, and now he’s getting his big break to be a head coach.

It’s almost a given that a coach in any sport who’s never been the head guy is going to take over a bad team. And the Cleveland Browns certainly qualify as a bad team (at best, underachieving). But I read an article over the weekend which stated that Stefanski was told that he’s to turn in his game plans to ownership and to the analytics department at the end of every week. Owner Jimmy Haslam and his analytics department will then go over the game plan, and presumably have the autonomy to make changes if the deem it necessary.

That’s an alleged report. However it’s consistent with some of the things I’ve heard about Haslam’s ownership tenure. And that’s an untenable situation for a head coach in any sport. To have to turn in game plans to the owner? That’s akin to a baseball owner calling pitches from his suite.

However as sports have become more and more a part of mainstream culture in America, they become more well-known. I think I know baseball pretty well – needless to say, well enough to write about it! I also think I know football and basketball pretty well. But I’m also smart enough to know that I don’t know enough about these sports to coach them at the professional level.

I suppose what I’m saying is that many people seem to believe that simply because they “know the game,” they’re good enough to know it at all levels. It appears that the Cleveland Browns have an owner who’s not only not empowering his people, but who thinks he knows the game well enough to be going over game plans. That isn’t a recipe for success.

Baltimore Orioles: Minicamp in Sarasota

The Baltimore Orioles are hosting their annual winter minicamp this week at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Manager Brandon Hyde will oversee the camp, and the Orioles are expecting a large turnout. It’ll mainly be young pitchers, and players who live in the area (Gulf Coast of Florida).

This also gives Hyde a chance to get his coaching staff, which has seen some turnover, together in an official capacity for the first time and evaluate players. And Hyde knows that’s important for the future:

We’re going to have meetings and it’s pretty much getting together as a coaching staff, as well as our support staff with our advance guys and some analysts.

Quote Courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

And the point about some of the coaches being new isn’t lost on Brandon Hyde:

It’s pretty much just getting together, talking about spring training, talking about goals. Everybody getting on the same page. We have a couple new staff members and it’s getting familiar with each other before we embark on this journey.

Quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports

Personally I think the idea of having this minicamp (which dates back to former manager Buck Showalter), is a good one. It allows pitchers and younger players to be on the same page before they even need to be. And when you’re attempting a rebuild the caliber of what the Orioles are doing, that’s a big deal.

Baltimore Orioles complete 2020 coaching staff

The Baltimore Orioles yesterday rounded out their 2020 coaching staff. According to a source, manager Brandon Hyde is hiring Darren Holmes as the Birds’ bullpen coach. He had previously held the same position with the Colorado Rockies.

The bullpen coach was the final piece of the coaching staff that needed to be filled for the coming season. It’ll be interesting to see how the relievers out in the pen react to Holmes as their new position leader. The bullpen’s obviously been a bit of an issue for a couple of years.

However here’s an interesting manner by which to look at the Holmes signing. As I said, he held the same position in Colorado…where the ball flies even more so than it does in Baltimore. So he’s used to training pitchers to pitch in tough environments. Time will tell what results we see.

Holmes has been in Baltimore before, albeit briefly. He appeared in five games as an Oriole in 2000, surrendering 13 runs. His ERA was north of 25 in those five games. Hopefully he’s learned a thing or two since then!

Baltimore Orioles: Spring training and the rotation

If you were following closely with what was being said at last week’s winter meetings, it would appear that the Baltimore Orioles are expecting to have an open competition for the starting rotation in Sarasota next year. In saying that, I really mean in two months’ time. The first spring game is February 22nd.

If you were paying attention, you heard manager Brandon Hyde say that the Orioles were expecting to have up to eight candidates vying for starting jobs. And I’ll be honest, that’s more than I thought it would be. I was expecting Dylan Bundy to be a starter for this team in 2020. I’m not suggesting that moving him was a mistake, but until a couple of weeks ago I was assuming he’d be on the roster.

Alex Cobb and John Means are the two names on the active roster who jump out at you in terms of being starters going into spring training. There might be some guys currently on the roster such as a David Hess or Asher Wojciechowski who could work their way into being a starter. And I suspect that’s what the Orioles are hoping occurs. There are also various free agent pitchers out there who would presumably jettison to a starter role.

However as I said, it looks like the O’s are going to be having somewhat of an open competition in camp. That’s not necessarily a good or bad thing, it’s just what they appear to be doing. Don’t be surprised if as we get closer to spring training games beginning we don’t see them sign a veteran starter. But for now, there could be up to three slots that are up for grabs.

Baltimore Orioles: How will spring training 2020 be different from 2019?

Next year’s spring training should have a slightly different vibe for the Baltimore Orioles. 2019 was all about finding out what the Orioles had. Next season will be different.

In some instances the Orioles now know what they have. This past season brought a new manager in Brandon Hyde, and a slew of new players. Nobody really knew what to expect of anyone – including the fans. This time around we’ll have a better idea. We know the ebbs and flows of how Hyde manages a game. We know who the leaders are.

The question will be will this team be able to take a greater step next year. They took a good step this past year by winning more games than they did in 2018. But they need to build on that in 2020. And that process starts in spring training.

Actually it starts before spring training. Hyde told each player what he needed to continually work on in the off season. Regardless of what that was for each individual player, the message was loud and clear. You shouldn’t begin working on these things in the Florida Grapefruit League. That process needs to begin in the off season.

In effect, if your assignment was to cut down on your swing, that should be perfected by the time you report to camp. That right there should tell folks that the Orioles intend to be more competitive in 2020. That doesn’t mean that the playoff race is a reasonable goal, because it isn’t. But they intend to be more competitive. And that starts in spring training.

Baltimore Orioles 2019: A bridge to tomorrow

The Baltimore Orioles led by new manager Brandon Hyde weren’t expected to do much in 2019. According to their 54-108 record, they lived up to expectations. However in my season preview prior to Opening Day I said that success for this team would be to win more games than they did last year.

And that happened – to the tune of seven additional wins. That won’t win you anything. But it also shows the beginnings of progress.

The O’s surprised a lot of people by taking two-of-three on the road both from New York and Toronto in the first two series’ of the year. However reality soon set in, as they dropped seven of their next eight. And that’s pretty much how the season went.

The Birds would drop a string of games, and eventually get a win. Again, this season wasn’t about wins and losses. It was about seeing what the organization had in the first year of a rebuild.

And the process ended up being as painful as advertised. I think a lot of fans say that they understand that rebuilding isn’t an easy process. But in practice it’s even tougher than advertised. As the Orioles found out, it’s not for the faint of heart.

But there were promising signs. Starter John Means was elected to be the Orioles’ All-Star Game representative. Richie Martin, Anthony Santander, Hanser Alberto, and others all showed promise. As did Austin Hays, who received a September call-up. And that may end up parlaying him into a spot on the roster going into Spring Training next year.

Overall, the season itself was forgettable. However a funny thing happened in the final six weeks or so. The players really came together and became a close unit. I don’t necessarily mean that the wins came or anything, just that the players played as a team. And again, going into next year’s spring training, that’s a good sign.

Trey Mancini was voted the Most Valuable Oriole for 2019.. He led the team with 35 home runs on the year. That’s a bit of a surprise that someone on the Orioles would hit that many homers however Mancini has long been seen as a potential weapon on offense for the Orioles. And he showed it in 2019.

The hope is that going into 2020 the team can improve on it’s record once again, by way of the progress made towards the end of 2019. It is possible; I’ve see it done.

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