After receiving the now-popular Orioles reset — although an abbreviated one — that other slumping sluggers have benefited from, outfielder/first baseman Trey Mancini showed that getting a day off gave him a mental break that he probably needed.
While manager Buck Showalter considered giving Mancini an extended break — Chris Davis sat for eight games and Jonathan Schoop received three days off — Mancini was back in the starting lineup for Thursday night’s makeup game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Camden Yards.
Mancini saw results right away, hitting a two-run homer in his third at-bat to end an 0-for-15 skid, the first of back-to-back homers in the seventh inning that put the Orioles within a run in their 5-4 loss to the Phillies.
“Yeah, it's always nice to have a reset,” Mancini said. “It's never the best thing to have to sit some games but you try to take advantage of it and look at the game from a different viewpoint and it kind of gives you a different perspective, too. You always appreciate being in that lineup every day when you are not playing. So from that standpoint and some other things, it gives you a chance to take the day and work on whatever you want to. It does help from a mental standpoint.”
Mancini’s blast — his first since July 1 and his second since June 25 — was hit to the right of straight-away center field, a positive sign for Mancini, who is usually at his best offensively when he’s taking the ball the other way with power.
“Yeah, and the pitch was on the inner-half too, so I stayed through that one well,” Mancini said. “Earlier in the game, my first few at-bats, I fouled a couple pitches off I could have hit and then ended up being in front of breaking balls, kind of like I have been now for a while. It was good to kind of make the adjustment there.”
After going through a 49-game stretch in which his batting average dropped 55 points to .220 after Tuesday’s game, and showing frustration uncharacteristic of the usually even-keel Mancini, he said he benefited from his brief break.
Mancini said receiving a day off allowed him the opportunity to take a step away from his normal pregame routine and concentrate on working on hitting mechanics.
“It kind of gives you more time,” Mancini said. “You have a pregame routine usually when you are playing and whenever you are not you have more time even leading up to the game to work on your swing or do other things to take your mind off of it. In that aspect, it kind of just switches up things before the game. I'd say before the game it gets you out of your normal day-to-day thing but kind of in a good way.”
Making his 13th start at first, Mancini was charged with an ninth-inning error that didn’t cost the Orioles, allowing a popup by Carlos Santana to fall between him and second baseman Jonathan Schoop in shallow right field.
With the infield shifted on Santana, Mancini was the only fielder on the right side of the infield, so both he and Schoop has to cover more ground to chase down the popup, but neither players called for the ball, and it dropped between them.
“We were in that shift defensively and it kind of threw us off a little bit,” Mancini said. “Each one of us thought the other one had it and neither of us called it and we both heard each other by the ball and it just dropped. If he doesn’t call me off on that, I started going after it, I have to keep going after it and not assume he’s under it. That one’s on me there. … Usually when a righty hits a ball there it always slices a bit, but I went after it right from the start and he thought I had it. I thought he had it.
The Orioles got out of the inning as Tanner Scott induced a flyball out to right and Brad Brach entered the game and induced an inning-ending groundball out.
“You don’t want that ball to drop obviously,” Mancini said. “We got out of the inning no problem, but sometimes it can cause a rally, and you never want that to happen. So you kind of take it and learn a lesson there and move on.”