NEW YORK — Orioles manager Brandon Hyde has had plenty of occasions recently to craft his thoughts on the gap between his team and the high-flying New York Yankees, one that, if measured in miles, might be longer than this city’s subway tracks.
Each of his thoughts Wednesday, before the Orioles’ 6-5 loss, came back to some version of a few simple refrains: We just have to stay patient, he said twice; We’re doing the best we can, he said twice; and, the most apt: “We just have a long way to go.”
Hyde let out a laugh before the 16th loss in a row and 17th in 19 games against the Yankees when he was asked if he’d be relieved to see the last of them until Opening Day 2020.
“Obviously it’s a really tough team for us to play, and they’re a really good ballclub,” Hyde said. “It’s a team that’s put together to go win a World Series, and we just haven’t pitched against them very well this year. That’s obviously been a real challenge for us.
“It’s where we are right now, in that we’re starting this from scratch a little bit, and these guys are trying to win a World Series. The Astros, these guys, it’s tough. There’s going to be games like we’ve seen the last week, and you just try to stay patient with it and stay positive, and know that there’s better days ahead.”
The Yankees’ dominance over the Orioles means anyone invested in the latter won’t want to focus on the present day, but the records set in these 19 matchups might last forever. The Yankees’ 61 home runs against the Orioles were by far the most any team has hit against a single opponent in a season.
Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres hit 13 of those home runs, setting the major league record since divisional play began in 1969. Catcher Gary Sánchez hit his 10th home run of the season against the Orioles on Wednesday, allowing he and Torres to join no less than Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig of the fabled 1927 Yankees as the only teammates with double-digit home runs against a single opponent in a season.
Only the 2017 Yankees scored more runs against one team in the divisional play era than the 151 runs the 2019 Yankees scored against the Orioles, though that was also against the Orioles. A run-differential of minus-68 against the Yankees alone means the Orioles were outscored by nearly four runs per game in these 19 games — and they won two of them, however tightly.
No team has won more than 17 games against a team under the 19-game divisional schedule, but the Yankees are the eighth team to accomplish that feat and first since the Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers did so in 2013.
“We don’t have to play them anymore, so I guess that’s a good thing,” right-hander Dylan Bundy said.
What’s worse is that the constant dichotomy of the Orioles losing on a nightly basis to a Yankees team that’s neck-and-neck with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the best record in baseball is simply bringing attention to their plight, both locally and nationally.
National baseball presences are piling on, and began to do so last week when first baseman Chris Davis tried to go after Hyde in the dugout last Wednesday. That continued through the weekend with the Orioles’ 23-2 loss to the Houston Astros on Saturday night, and right on through Monday’s doubleheader and this four-game sweep in New York.
Never mind the Orioles are on a 110-loss pace after losing 115 games last year, and still aren’t even in line for the No. 1 overall draft pick thanks to the 36-81 Detroit Tigers.
They are, however, giving up home runs at a record-setting rate — 250 through 121 games, with the major league record at 258. That comes at a time when there’s plenty of hand-wringing about the power displayed in the game, and players wondering whether a team giving up a major league season (or seasons) the way the Orioles are in the name of building for the future is really a good thing.
It might actually be as bad as it has looked against the Yankees, and generally has looked in August. But the internal message won’t change because of it, even on the back of a .500 July.
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“You have players all over the field trying to establish themselves,” Hyde said. “There’s all sorts of challenges, and we’re inexperienced on the mound, we’re inexperienced on the field, we’re inexperienced behind the plate. And when you’re facing veteran clubs, they make a ton of money for a reason, and are trying to go deep into the postseason, you’re going to potentially have some rough nights. We’re doing the best we can.”