For the second time in a month, an Orioles player and a coach argued in the dugout and had their airing of grievances broadcast on MASN. Reliever Richard Bleier and third base coach José David Flóres shouted at each other about defensive positioning Wednesday at Nationals Park during the Orioles’ 8-4 loss to the Washington Nationals.
Bleier was charged with three runs on four hits while retiring one batter in the fifth inning, and after he left the game, said something to Flóres — who handles the Orioles’ infield positioning — that prompted a response.
Reliever Shawn Armstrong, who is on the injured list, was among several players who separated them.
Richard Bleier and Orioles infield coach Jose Flores seemed to have some choice words for each other after Bleier was yanked when he allowed four hits and three runs while recording one out. One assumes defensive alignments were part of the conversation. pic.twitter.com/mdQLJDHaQR
“I think I just let frustration kind of boil over, some stuff about some balls that I thought maybe … defensive positioning, I guess,” Bleier said. “I probably could have done better for myself to keep my mouth shut, and unfortunately, I may have said something. You guys saw the rest.”
Said manager Brandon Hyde: “I guess there was some disagreement about some positioning during his inning. On the mound, he just left it a little bit too early for me, but I haven’t talked to him, honestly since.”
Bleier got a quick groundout before allowing a single to Anthony Rendon, and got a ground ball to the right side from left-handed hitter Juan Soto that went through a shifted infield for a hit instead of being an inning-ending double play. Kurt Suzuki doubled down the right-field line, Asdrubal Cabrera doubled down the left-field line, and Bleier’s day was done.
“We’re all adults,” Bleier said. “It’s not like I’m mad at anybody. Right now, we’re not thrilled with each other maybe, but I’m sure we can move past this and get back to a healthy relationship.”
This dust-up comes three weeks after Orioles first baseman Chris Davis had to be restrained by teammates and coaches in the dugout from trying to go after Hyde during a loss to the New York Yankees.
At the time, Davis and Hyde chalked it up as something that happens when a team is struggling like the Orioles are. Bleier has plenty to be frustrated about as well. His ERA was down to a season-low 5.67 before Wednesday’s outing, but it’s been a difficult season. He had a 1.97 ERA in 119 innings over three seasons before last year ended with a lat surgery.
His peripheral stats are in line with what he’s done in years past, with his xFIP — which creates an ERA in front of league-average defense — being 4.20, right in line with last year’s 4.02. His fortunes seem to have turned, and while there have been stretches of better results lately, Wednesday wasn’t one of them — on the mound or off it.