Under manager Brandon Hyde, the major league representative of a franchise focused on the future, the Orioles have had one true mandate this season: compete for nine innings and make the plays you're supposed to make. And if that happens, they can live with whatever results come.
After a pair of miserable losses to the Boston Red Sox this weekend at Camden Yards, Hyde felt the need to publicly let his team know it wasn’t even living up to that, neither in Friday's 13-2 loss nor Saturday's 7-2 result.
"We're taking inventory of what we have, and that's the way to look at it," Hyde said, acknowledging it was a borrowed concept from his old boss, Chicago Cubs manager Joe Maddon, from when he managed the Tampa Bay Rays. "We're taking inventory of the players that we have. Who's going to be around for us when we're good? Just evaluating our players.
“And our guys are getting an incredible opportunity. At times, I feel like we take advantage of them, for the most part. And I think days like the last couple days, guys haven't. They need to start appreciating the opportunity that they're getting, and we've just got to clean up a lot of things defensively and on the mound."
Hyde rattled off a series of plays he was disappointed with, beginning three batters into the game. With a man on first and one out, Keon Broxton and Anthony Santander nearly collided in right-center field going for a fly ball. Broxton caught it, but instead of throwing in to the infield, discussed the play with Santander, allowing the runner to advance.
They didn't pay for that, nor were they burned by Dylan Bundy allowing Jackie Bradley Jr. to run all the way from first to second before he threw a 3-2 pitch in the second inning.
The game was littered with Orioles fielders being wrong-footed on ground balls and having the balls go just out of their reach. But the difference in the game came in the sixth, when third baseman Hanser Alberto was charged with an error on a ground ball that allowed Boston's third run to score in a three-run inning. It only got worse from there.
"The game should have been 2-0, scored two in the bottom half, should have been a 2-2 game going into the seventh," Hyde said. "The bottom line is we have to play almost perfect to win against good clubs.
“Last night was embarrassing, and tonight was just really sloppy: defensively, walking the leadoff hitter in the ninth inning of a two-run game, falling asleep on defense in the outfield, not catching the ball on the infield, breaking too early on a stolen-base attempt which allows a run, not catching the ball on a stolen-base attempt — a lot of things that we can't do, because we can't overcome them. We're not talented enough offensively. We don't have enough shutdown guys on the mound to be able to win. We have to play almost perfect, and we just didn't play well."
Saturday's loss dropped the Orioles to 21-49 at the 70-game mark of the season. Their -105 run differential at home, where they're 9-27, is worse than every team for the full season except for the Detroit Tigers at -125.