Mancini focused on 'being in the moment'

May 23rd, 2021

WASHINGTON -- would like everyone to just ignore the first 14 games of the season. Heading into Sunday’s matchup, he had a .331/.402/.593 slash line since April 17. And he also leads MLB in RBIs with 41.

Mancini recorded two hits, drove in two runs and scored twice on Sunday afternoon, though it wasn’t enough to boost the Orioles in their 6-5 loss in the series finale against Washington.

In the fifth straight road loss for the O’s, Mancini’s bat continued to be a bright spot. His first-inning RBI single continued the offensive outpouring from Saturday’s game, which gave Baltimore its only lead of the day. The third inning also got off to a hot start, as Mancini led off with a single to Juan Soto in right field. This time, Mancini was the run heading home when Maikel Franco hit a sac fly to tie the game. His RBI groundout to first base in the seventh scored the O's final run of the game.

“The first few weeks of the season, the wheels were turning all the time,” said Mancini. “I really just had to take a deep breath, appreciate where I am, you know, compared to where I was last year. Just focus on that at-bat. Not worry about what happened earlier in the game or what's going to happen later -- just being in the moment. And I've tried to really concentrate on that.”

Sunday was Mancini’s 13th multihit game of the season, all but one coming since April 17. Manager Brandon Hyde has seen a shift in the first baseman’s approach since the first few weeks of the season, as Mancini has started hitting “to the big part of the field.”

Hyde also praised the offensive approach from the rest of the top of the order -- Austin Hays, Freddy Galvis and Anthony Santander -- who each recorded two hits. Baltimore outhit the Nationals 13-11, marking just the seventh loss of the season when the Orioles outhit their opponent.

“I think overall, especially the last two days [with] how we took our at-bats, we got back in that cycle of hitting for the guy in front and the guy behind us,” said Mancini of the team's offensive performance. “That's the mentality that we always set out to have, and I'm starting to feel it a little bit. It's just more about being consistent with it, too.”

Part of the inconsistency is due to the missed chances with runners in scoring position -- the lineup went 3-for-12 with RISP on Sunday. This season, the team is batting .240 with RISP; if you remove Mancini from that statistic, the team average drops to .211.

“We're trying to stay positive. Obviously, this has been a tough few weeks,” said Hyde, whose team is now 2-13 since John Means’ no-hitter on May 5. “We'll take some positives out of it, our offense. I want to believe that our bullpen is going to kind of pick it up a little bit. Hopefully, we can start pitching a little bit better, because our offensive approach looks like it's improving.”