In what is quickly becoming a late-summer tradition, another frustrated player had to be separated from a coach in the Orioles dugout as tempers flared during a loss. This time it was reliever Richard Bleier, who had something to say to O’s infield coach José David Flóres about defensive positioning on his way off the field, in the fifth inning of an eventual 8–4 loss to the Nationals.
Bleier came on in the fifth with his Orioles down 5–2, and gave up a one-out single to Anthony Rendon. The next batter, Juan Soto, slapped a grounder to the right of second base. The Orioles defense was shifted to the right side against Soto, a lefty, but the precise alignment of their shift created a lane for Soto’s grounder to sneak through to the outfield, where it might’ve otherwise led to an inning-ending double play. Bleier’s night went straight down the toilet from there, with consecutive RBI doubles from Asdrúbal Cabrera and Kurt Suzuki. Bleier was pulled with the Orioles suddenly down six runs. On his way off, he appeared to chirp at Flóres, and Flóres was having none of it:
After the loss, Bleier confirmed that the substance of his gripe had to do with Flóres being architect of a lefty defensive shift that somehow made the Orioles even less prepared to handle a grounder on the right side. Per the Baltimore Sun:
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.”
Injured Orioles reliever Shawn Armstrong can be seen jumping between Bleier and Flóres, and it appears he had some choice words of his own for his coach. The Orioles might soon be dealing with a full-blown uprising! This is the second time in just over three weeks that an Orioles player had to be separated in the dugout from an Orioles coach whose ass he very much wanted to kick, after Chris Davis had to be restrained in a fiery confrontation with manager Brandon Hyde during a loss to the Yankees on August 7. You just start to wonder whether all this anger and frustration has anything to do with the organization’s decision to punt on being competitive for the foreseeable future.