Baltimore Orioles featured in televised dugout dustup for second time in month

The Baltimore Sun (TNS)
Baltimore Orioles relief pitcher Richard Bleier throws a pitch to a Kansas City Royals batter during the seventh/eight inning of a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug. 21, 2019, in Baltimore. The Orioles won 8-1. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

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 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.

Bleier said: “I think I just let frustration kind of boil over, some stuff about some balls that I thought maybe … defensive positioning, I guess. 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.”

Manager Brandon Hyde said, “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, Asdrubel Cabrera doubled down the left-field line, and Bleier’s day was done.

He said he hopes he and Flóres can address what happened once things cool down.

“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 two 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 in circumstances such as the Orioles are in. 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 199 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 — is 4.20, right in line with last year’s 4.18. His fortunes seem to have turned, and while there have been stretches of better lately, Wednesday wasn’t one of them — on the mound or off it.

“Just gave up a couple hits there and didn’t quite make pitches when I needed to,” Bleier said. “Things just didn’t work out.”