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Orioles front office pleased with progress, fan support during trying season

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Orioles front office pleased with progress, fan support during trying season

It’s been a long and trying season at Camden Yards, a fact not lost on Orioles leadership. 

Prior to the home finale Sunday afternoon, manager Brandon Hyde met with the media for his usual pregame availability. He answered each question, explained a few decisions he had been made, and sprinkled in a few jokes. It was a typical press conference.

Then, when all the questions were done, Hyde stopped everyone getting up to leave, asking to say a few words.

“The energy in the ballpark last night was fantastic,” Hyde began. “I’m looking forward to the day when it’s like that all the time. I appreciate the way the fans showed up.”

Of course, that fan support came in what was ultimately a losing effort for the Orioles. It’s a pattern that’s been prevalent all season long in Baltimore.

“It’s been hard,” the manager continued. “Been a trying process, I totally understand the frustrations. But it will get better.”

It did get better, at least for a day, as the Orioles held off the Mariners 2-1 in a breezy Sunday afternoon affair.

Most of the players impacting Sunday’s win may not be around the next time the Orioles are competitive, but the starting pitcher certainly caught the eye of Mike Elias this season.

“I think the team has played its butt off all year,” the general manager praised before the game. “It’s battled, and I think we can all go with the individual success stories. You know, Means, Santander, Severino, Mancini having a huge year. I mean, there’s too many to go through right now. Not everything goes perfectly in a baseball season, but I think the positives this year far outweigh the negatives, and our organization is positioned so much better for the future than it was this time last year.”

The general praise continued from the man leading the Orioles' rebuild, though he is quick to recognize the reality of the franchise’s situation.

“We’ve got a lot of areas to get better in, I think that’s no secret,” Elias admitted. “But overall we sit back and look around at what’s happened in the organization and it was just a very positive year. Got a lot accomplished across the organization...The farm system’s taken a huge jump this year. Some of that, obviously, is the draft with the number one pick. But I would argue most of it is what happened with the players that were already in the system. Some player development improvements that we made, the changes and the steps forward the group took. Here at the big league level, look. I mean we’re still losing games way more than we want to. This is not fun, it’s not easy to crawl out of.”

Elias is right. The Orioles finished 61 games out of first place in 2018. Even with Sunday’s win, they are currently 50 games behind the Yankees in the AL East in 2019. 

This is a huge hole, and a better year than last doesn’t mean the Orioles are close to competing. Yet.

While Elias and the rest of the front office appreciate the fan support the team has received in 2019, he knows it’s all relative to the on-field success of the organization.

“I can’t ask anyone to embrace losing the way we have. Our record last year was historically bad, this year it’s not going to be a ton better. Nobody wants to do this. We never want this to happen again,” Elias told reporters emphatically. “There’s a long way to go, a lot to be done. I think the support has been tremendous. The people coming out here, they love this team. The people of the city love this team, they know that this needs to be done. And I’m confident that they’re going to come back, and they’re gonna come back in a big way.”

At least one pregame request from Hyde came true Sunday, as he hoped fans would show appreciation for both Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, two Orioles who have experienced rough years for different reasons.

The Camden Yards faithful responded, showering Davis with thunderous applause after his home run in the seventh inning gave the O’s their 2-1 lead. Of course, any player homering in that scenario would receive an ovation. But that doesn’t make it any less nice to see it come Davis’ way.

Hyde also put out a second plea to Orioles fans pregame. 

“I’m asking for everybody’s patience. I want fans to feel good about the start of the process, and trust that it’s going to get better.”

The confidence from management has not wavered, and for now, it hasn’t wavered from most fans either. If Hyde and Elias are to be believed, even a 100-loss season can signal a positive step forward, and the Orioles firmly believe they’re on the right track.

This time in 2018, the Orioles were a franchise in disarray, with a lame-duck leadership team and a bleak future. 

It’s hard to believe what a difference a season can make.


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Orioles Roundup: Trey Mancini stays hot in 8-4 home loss to Blue Jays

Orioles Roundup: Trey Mancini stays hot in 8-4 home loss to Blue Jays

In a fitting tribute to most games this season in Baltimore, Trey Mancini had a terrific day at the plate, but the pitching staff allowed too many home runs and the O's ended up losing.

Here's everything you need to know about the Orioles.

Player Updates:

OF Trey Mancini hasn't slowed down at all for the Orioles, turning in a 4-for-4 night to tie his career high in hits. He's hitting .286 with 34 home runs during his breakout season.

OF Austin Hays enjoyed a banner night, hitting his first home run of the season and making one of the year's highlight catches, robbing a home run well over the centerfield wall.

SP Gabriel Ynoa allowed three runs in 6.1 innings. He didn't walk anyone and allowed just six hits, but he also only struck out one batter despite pitching into the seventh inning, and two of the hits allowed were home runs.


RP Hunter Harvey, biceps, sidelined, day-to-day

RP Josh Rogers, elbow, 60-Day IL, out indefinitely 

SP Alex Cobb, back, 60-Day IL, 2020

Coming Up:

Friday, 9/20: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Saturday, 9/21: Mariners at Orioles, 7:05 p.m., Camden Yards

Sunday, 9/22: Mariners at Orioles, 1:05 p.m., Camden Yards

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Evaluating the state of 2019 MLB awards races: September update

Evaluating the state of 2019 MLB awards races: September update

With September underway, the postseason is mere weeks away in Major League Baseball, and most teams have around 25 games left in the season. That's still plenty of time to shake things up in most awards races. Let's take a look around baseball to see who should be favored in each of the major races in both leagues.


1. Mike Trout, Angels
2. Alex Bregman, Astros
3. Matt Chapman, Athletics

Come on. It's Mike Trout still, and that's not going to change in the next four weeks. Some gambling sites won't even take bets on this award because of how much a lock it is.

The rest of the top three stays the same. Bregman is 2019's version of Mookie Betts and Jose Altuve -- the second best player in the league, behind Trout -- and is having a terrific season leading the first-place Astros. Chapman continues a breakout season, as well.


1. Cody Bellinger, Dodgers
2. Christian Yelich, Brewers
3. Anthony Rendon, Nationals

Mike Trout's WAR lead over second place in the AL is an incredible 1.4. Bellinger's in the NL? A ridiculous 1.9, as his 8.3 is just barely behind Trout's 8.4.

The only thing keeping Yelich in this race is his Bonds-esque power surge, part of a remarkable career turnaround coinciding with the outfielder's trade to Milwaukee. In most years, Yelich would be a shoo-in for his second straight NL MVP, but most years don't have Cody Bellinger enjoying what may end up being his career year.

Rendon returns to the third spot, though it's important to note this is a distant bronze. The missed time hurts, but Rendon does lead Major League Baseball in batting average, along with the third-best offensive WAR and OPS in the NL.

AL Cy Young

1. Justin Verlander, Astros
2. Gerrit Cole, Astros
3. Charlie Morton, Rays

Verlander's incredible 14-strikeout, one-walk no-hitter in Toronto could be the final nail in the coffin to his fellow contenders. It's been another banner season in a career full of them for Verlander, the Astros ace within shouting distance of a pitching Triple Crown.

Of course, the player who may keep Verlander from the strikeout title is his teammate, Gerrit Cole, who finds himself with the AL's second-best ERA and best K/9 in a career year. Morton continues his successful season in Tampa Bay, though we're starting to see some separation between the top two and the rest of the field. Again, good luck to anyone hoping to take down these two Astros in the postseason.

NL Cy Young

1. Jacob deGrom, Mets
2. Max Scherzer, Nationals
3. Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dodgers

I feel confident about the top three in this race, but much less confident about the order. Scherzer is finally back and healthy, and if he returns to form, could theoretically run away with this thing.

Having said that, the Nats are trying to avoid pushing Scherzer too far, which makes perfect sense. They need him for the postseason more than they do these games in September, and if they ease up on his workload it would hurt his final statistics. With Hyun-Jin Ryu's ERA jumping from historic to merely really good, it could open the door for a surging deGrom.

Given the states of each respective team, deGrom is the most likely candidate to have to put his team on his back and carry any success the Mets find, and his WAR is just 0.3 behind Scherzer. This is the most exciting awards race in the stretch run this season.

AL Rookie of the Year

1. Yordan Alvarez, Astros
2. John Means, Orioles
3. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Blue Jays

Alvarez continues his reign here, and it's starting to look like another certainty among this year's awards races. Despite the shortened season, Alvarez is dwarfing an otherwise disappointing rookie group. Guerrero Jr. and Eloy Jimenez have disappointed relative to their high expectations, and John Means hasn't been quite the same in the season's second half, though he has started to bounce back with a couple of nice outings in his last two starts.

Still, this is Alvarez's award to lose. His bat has yet to slow down at any point this season, and he is playing a crucial role in the middle of the best lineup in baseball. It would take an epic hot streak from Guerrero to turn this into a real race, though that's not something that should surprise anyone.

NL Rookie of the Year

1. Pete Alonso, Mets
2. Mike Soroka, Braves
3. Fernando Tatis Jr., Padres

Tatis moves down as Soroka continues his pretty incredible run atop the Braves rotation. The second-best ERA in the National League, a top-five WAR among NL pitchers and his importance to a team running away with its division all combine to move him ahead of the phenom who won't play again this season. Alonso is winning this award, though, as we've said through nearly every update.

The young slugger leads the baseball in home runs, along with a top five offensive WAR and top seven OPS in the National League. Even as a first baseman, he's just barely outside the top 10 in overall WAR in the NL. With Tatis down for the count, Alonso is a stone cold lock. The rest is just window dressing.

AL Manager of the Year

1. Rocco Baldelli, Twins
2. Aaron Boone, Yankees
3. Kevin Cash, Rays

I've been holding out on adding Boone to this race because it almost always goes to the team that defies preseason expectations, and the Yankees were considered one of the favorites to win it all back in March. But it's worth noting that their in-season expectations have certainly enjoyed a roller coaster ride, and Boone should be commended for handling a historic level of injuries endured by his team in one season.

I do still feel Baldelli should be considered the favorite, just for how radically the Twins have outperformed their expectations, but it's definitely one of the closer races on the board right now.

NL Manager of the Year

1. Davey Martinez, Nationals
2. Dave Roberts, Dodgers
3. Bruce Bochy, Giants

It's almost unfathomable to consider Martinez the favorite for this award, and frankly, there are a half-dozen directions this vote could go. Brian Snitker is leading a surprise Braves team to the NL East title, and he doesn't even make the top three in this update.

Roberts is leading a team most expected to win its division and compete for the NL pennant, but it's still worth crediting him for just how easily they've made mincemeat of the rest of the National League. The question isn't who can win the NL, it's who can beat Los Angeles.

Despite all that, Martinez might be more worthy, especially if the Nats seal the deal and make the postseason. Considering their 19-31 start while dealing with injuries, their in-season turnaround is among the more surprising, impressive storylines of the season, and Martinez deserves praise for righting the ship.