Trey Mancini stuck around the clubhouse after another deflating loss and patiently answered questions amid one of the worst stretches in the history of the Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles allowed the New York Yankees to hit a record 16 homers during a three-game series at Camden Yards Aug. 5-7. A few days later, the Houston Astros set multiple franchise records in a 23-2 win, including 13 extra-base hits.
The Orioles then headed to New York for another four games with the Yankees, dropping both games of a doubleheader Aug. 12.
During those two games, Gleyber Torres hit three home runs. He now has 13 homers against the Orioles, tying Roger Maris (1961), Joe Adcock (1956), Hank Sauer (1954) and Jimmie Foxx (1932) for second-most home runs against a team in one season in MLB history, according to ESPN Stats & Information research. Lou Gehrig holds the record with 14 home runs against the Cleveland Indians in 1936, but Torres has two more games to catch him.
The Orioles have also lost 14 consecutive games to the Yankees, the second-longest single-season streak against an opponent in club history behind 17 losses to Cleveland in 1954, according to STATS, LLC.
Despite the adversity, Mancini has managed to put this rebuilding season into perspective.
"We've lost a lot more than we've won the last couple of years," Mancini said. "We've had flashes of some good times this year, such as July, it looked like things were trending up. August has obviously gotten off to a tough start. This is the big-boy league.
"We've played some really good teams so far. This hasn't been a good homestand for us, but that's a loser's mentality right there to think you're going to take a beating, so you can't come to the park expecting that."
Orioles GM Mike Elias and manager Brandon Hyde knew the team was going to struggle in the first year of the rebuild. There has been a mix of highs and lows throughout the year.
However, the recent stretch of games against playoff-caliber opponents has been especially devastating. Orioles pitchers have struggled to keep the ball inside the park and have allowed 248 home runs, just 10 shy of the MLB record held by the 2016 Reds.
When asked how he's managed to stay positive, Mancini replied: "It can be tough. It's been a tough homestand, but that's our job. You've got to come the next day and no matter what happened the day before, you never know what could happen the next day.
Mancini can't be blamed for any of the Orioles' troubles. He is slashing .280/.344/.534 with a career-high 29 homers. There was speculation Mancini was poised to be dealt at this year's trade deadline, but he expressed a desire to stay in Baltimore and be a part of the rebuilding project.
Despite his personal success, he feels bad for his teammates.
"It's tough to see," he said about the lopsided losses. "It's tough to be out there and everything like that. That's our job. You're going to have some games where you give up a lot of runs and it's not fun, but you keep plugging along and keep playing."
Hyde has taken notice of Mancini's leadership this season. The outfielder has been one of the club's bright spots.
"He recognizes that we don't have a whole lot of experience here and I think guys really look up to him," the manager said. "How hard he plays and how he prepares, the intensity he plays with. He plays to win. So I think it's natural that he's becoming a voice in our clubhouse and somebody that all our guys look up to."
The road does not get much easier. After two more games against the Yankees, the Orioles head to Boston for a three-game series against the Red Sox, who are desperately trying to stay in the thick of the playoff race.
The Orioles look toward the future when one day they will also be setting their sights on a postseason run.