BALTIMORE – A furious seventh-inning rally came a few inches and one outstretched Stephen Piscotty glove short from salvaging a difficult homestand for the Orioles, who now embark on their first multicity road trip of the year. A four-game set with the defending champion Red Sox awaits for a club
BALTIMORE – A furious seventh-inning rally came a few inches and one outstretched Stephen Piscotty glove short from salvaging a difficult homestand for the Orioles, who now embark on their first multicity road trip of the year. A four-game set with the defending champion Red Sox awaits for a club that manager Brandon Hyde hopes arrives in Boston “angry” after dropping seven of its last eight.
“We haven’t played our best baseball this last week,” Hyde said. “We were pretty good the first five games or so, but this last week hasn’t been our best.”
The teaching moments were aplenty over the club’s first homestand, a seven-game stretch that concluded with Thursday’s 8-5 defeat to the A’s. Here are a few takeaways from the first batch of 2019 games at Oriole Park.
Home runs are flying
Speaking after Thursday’s series finale, Hyde was candid about his team’s struggles keeping the ball in the park. The Orioles allowed 28 home runs this homestand, 14 over three games to the Yankees and 14 more across four contests against the A’s. They’ve allowed an MLB-high 37 in 2019 and at least one in each of their first 13 games, a new franchise record.
“I haven’t seen this many in a short amount of time,” Hyde said. “When you get four hits and give up five homers, it’s usually [not] a recipe for a good outcome.”
They can take solace in the fact that they are far from alone, just at the wrong end of a league-wide trend. Home run numbers have spiked across Major League Baseball for years, but 2019 has brought a new level entirely. Entering Thursday, there were 467 home runs hit in 360 games, league-wide, on pace for 6,318 over the course of a full season, ahead of the MLB record pace from 201. Last year, there were just 5,585 homers hit.
“Not throw the ball right down the middle, that’s the biggest key,” said Dylan Bundy, who has now allowed six in 12 1/3 innings this year. “Get in counts that favor me, rather than them.”
The mood around Chris Davis has shifted
While Chris Davis has long enjoyed the support of his teammates and coaches, the ovations he received by the fans at Oriole Park this week brought a new element to his now historic hitless streak.
After being booed in last week’s home opener, Davis was greeted warmly each time he strode to the plate in the A’s series. By the time he passed Tony Bernazard’s consecutive hitless plate appearances record Thursday afternoon, Davis had gotten four at least partial standing ovations from the fans on hand. At times, it seemed as if they were trying to will Davis out of the slump that’s now stretched across parts of two seasons.
“It’s awesome,” Davis said. “I appreciate it so much. Really the last few nights, just the encouraging yells and shouts throughout the game and I know they’re behind me. I know the people that boo aren’t the majority and I really appreciate the fans showing up and backing me.
“I’m not going to give up. That’s not who I am, that’s not what I’m about. And at some point it will turn around.”
The Orioles believe they avoided the worst with regard to Pedro Severino, who passed concussion protocol after being hit in the head by a J.B. Wendelken curveball in the eighth. Severino was evaluated on the field by the club’s medical staff, eventually walking to first under his own power and remaining in the game. He will continue to be monitored for 24 hours, but will travel with the team to Boston. Severino also took a foul ball off his right foot during Thursday’s contest.
Acquired on a waiver claim toward the end of Spring Training, Severino has settled into a rotation with Jesus Sucre behind the plate, playing a big part in Baltimore’s early success in controlling the running game.
Joe Trezza covers the Orioles for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeTrezz.