BALTIMORE — If these are the times that try a manager’s soul, Brandon Hyde is trying not to show it.
In the first month of his first regular season as Orioles, his pitching staff has given up home runs at a rate never before seen in the history of a sport that is celebrating it’s sesquicentennial anniversary.
Yes, that’s what the 150 stands for on every big leaguer’s sleeve. And over those 150 years, no team has given up as many homers before the end of April as the rebuilding O’s.
In fact, the only team to come at all close was the 1996 Detroit Tigers who — until Saturday — held the record for home runs before May 1 with 50. The Orioles shattered it with the willing help of the Minnesota Twins, who hit 11 homers on the way to a resounding sweep of the rain-makeup doublehneader at Camden Yards.
The Orioles have now given up 57 and, as you probably have noticed, there are still ten days left in April, but Hyde has never lost his game face...or his temper. He has yet to let anyone see him sweat.
“We’ve given up a lot of home runs,’’ he said. “We’re looking to execute a little better with two strikes. A lot of damage is done with two strikes against us and it’s just something we’ve got to get better at.”
If that sounded pretty dispassionate, it was, but that was what he said in between the two games, which was after the Orioles gave up three homers in a tight 6-5 loss to move to within one homer of tying this particularly dubious record.
Of course, it was not the first time the subject has come up and it would not be the last time on Saturday.
The Twins hit eight more on the way to a crazy 16-7 victory in the nightcap, which featured an early-inning meltdown by Alex Cobb in his first start back from a stay on the injured list with back soreness and a ninth-inning relief appearance by first baseman Chris Davis.
Former Oriole Nelson Cruz and catcher Mitch Garver hit two home runs in the second game. Left fielder Eddie Rosario hit two homers in the first game and another in the night cap. Jonathan Schoop welcomed himself back to town with two homers and two doubles in the two games.
Orioles pitchers have now given up 39 home runs here, or an average of 4.3 homers in just nine home games.
— Baltimore Sun