Throughout much of this early portion of his tenure as the Orioles manager, Brandon Hyde has maintained positivity when it came to the flaws of the roster the organization’s rebuild presented.
But Tuesday afternoon, in the wake of Monday night’s 10-7 loss to the New York Yankees in which the Orioles led by five after five innings, Hyde said accountability is also needed for a team that made several fundamental defensive miscues en route to the evaporation of its lead.
Left fielder Dwight Smith Jr. made a run-producing throwing error in the seventh, and both he and right fielder Joey Rickard bypassed their cutoff men on ninth-inning throws and allowed Yankees base runners to advance. Catcher Pedro Severino failed to catch a foul pop-up that preceded a go-ahead home run.
“That was hard to watch,” Hyde said. “We’ve got to be held accountable, and this is the big leagues, and those plays should and need to be made. I’m not gonna hide from that. You can be positive all you want, but you also have to hold people accountable and say, ‘This is what we need to improve,’ and those type of plays, we just need to get better at, and we need to eliminate that.
“It’s just not winning baseball. We’re still learning how to win at this level.”
Hyde took some solace in that some of those mistakes were the case of players trying to make the big play. Rickard, in particular, was trying to nab Brett Gardner at third on a single by Cameron Maybin, but his throw allowed Maybin to move to second and erased the possibility for a double play.
“That’s why you have to stay positive,” Hyde said. “It’s a teaching moment because a lot of those plays aren’t because of being lackadaisical or not engaged in the game.”
Although the team has a perception of youthfulness, Hyde clarified that the Orioles are “not young, exactly, but we are extremely inexperienced.” Many Orioles have extensive game logs at the minors’ top level, but this season represents their first trials in the major leagues. That fact has often shown, especially in the team’s 15-32 record entering Tuesday.
“It’s nothing like playing here,” Hyde said. “You can prepare yourself all you want. There’s nothing like playing here and having success here. The only way you’re able to do that is to go play and go play with a third deck and play in big games against the New York Yankees, and I think that’s how you improve.
“We’re blessed with a ton of veteran guys to help or to lean on. We have each other to lean on, and they have each other to lean on, and I think that we’re gonna roll with the roller coaster a little bit at times just because we don’t have a ton of experience.”
Hyde said he spent a lot of Tuesday talking to players, both individually and in groups, about Monday’s game, the season as a whole and what could be improved. He is trying to balance being critical in pursuit of improvement with helping his players move on from a rough night in hopes of avoiding another.
“A lot of these guys are playing every day or consistent baseball for these first two months of the season, and that’s an adjustment,” Hyde said. “A lot of these guys haven’t been in spots like that, with game-on-the-line kind of stuff, where the game speeds up and you have to make to play, so I think that we’re going through that. Even though you have a minor league career, it’s just not the same, and now, you’re playing every day in the big leagues and getting consistent at-bats and playing every single inning, or most innings.
“I think that there’s an adjustment, and we just want to see our guys continue to improve at this level, which isn’t always easy, and there’s gonna be hiccups like there was last night, but it’s our job to address them and to try to get these guys better.”
Thorne to teach class
Gary Thorne, the lead play-by-play announcer on the Orioles’ MASN broadcasts, will serve as a visiting professor for a play-by-play course this summer for students in Arizona State’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication.
The class, which began Monday and runs through July 8, won’t affect Thorne’s schedule with Orioles broadcasts, as he is teaching the class remotely. Several students in the class will be calling games in the Cape Cod League, while others participating in journalism internships around the country.
Thorne, in his 13th year calling Orioles games, has previously taught classes with the University of Maine and its law school and has regularly served as the play-by-play of national baseball and hockey broadcasts.
Around the horn
Stevie Wilkerson batted leadoff Tuesday as Hyde used his 48th different lineup in 48 games. … Orioles pitchers took batting practice on the field before Tuesday’s game in preparation for this week’s interleague series at the Colorado Rockies. … Severino, out of the lineup after getting hit with pitches and foul balls multiple times in Monday’s game, is “sore,” Hyde said. … Right-hander Alex Cobb’s return date from his lower back strain is “open-ended,” Hyde said. … Right-hander Dean Kremer, acquired from the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, was promoted to Double-A Bowie on Tuesday after pitching 9 2/3 scoreless innings in two starts with High-A Frederick.