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AL nabs home field in World Series with ASG win over NL

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AL nabs home field in World Series with ASG win over NL

By Mark Zuckerman

CSNbaltimore.com

FINAL: AL 6, NL 3

GAME IN A NUTSHELL: The 86th MLB All-Star Game already was a major event before Mike Trout stepped to the plate for the night's first at-bat. That's what happens when Pete Rose is introduced on the field in Cincinnati, and then Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays all take the field together as baseball's four greatest living players.

Trout, though, certainly did his part to turn the attention to today's active players. He hammered a home run to right off Zack Greinke to lead off the game and give the American League a quick lead. The National League got that run back thanks to Jhonny Peralta's 2-out RBI single in the second, but the NL lineup was mostly stymied the rest of the night by the AL's dynamite pitching staff.

Andrew McCutchen homered off Chris Archer to lead off the sixth, but that was it for the NL until the ninth. The AL lineup, on the other hand, was far from done. Prince Fielder and Lorenzo Cain delivered back-to-back RBI hits in the fifth off Clayton Kershaw. Manny Machado and Fielder then added big insurance RBI in the seventh off Francisco Rodriguez.

Once Brian Dozier took Mark Melancon deep in the eighth, this one had turned into a mini-rout. The AL bullpen closed out a comfortable victory and thus secured home-field advantage for the World Series for the third straight season.

MORE ORIOLES: MANFRED ON PITCH CLOCK, SCHEDULING, EXPANSION

HITTING HIGHLIGHT: It took Trout all of four pitches to make his presence known once again in this event. Facing Greinke (owner of a 1.39 ERA this season), he clobbered a 1-2 pitch deep to right and over Harper's head for his first career All-Star homer. Here's the really impressive part: Trout has now hit for something of a natural All-Star cycle. He singled in his first at-bat in the 2012 game. He doubled in his first at-bat in the 2013 game. He tripled in his first at-bat in the 2014 game. And now he homered in his first at-bat in the 2015 game. How cool is that?

PITCHING HIGHLIGHT: It was only one inning of relief, and it came with his team trailing in the sixth inning, but Jacob deGrom was utterly dominant on the mound. The Mets right-hander struck out Stephen Vogt, Jason Kipnis and Jose Iglesias in succession, all swinging, all on a grand total of 10 pitches. In the process, deGrom became the first pitcher in All-Star history to strike out the side on 10 or fewer pitches. Not bad.

NATS HIGHLIGHT: Harper was front-and-center in this game, batting third for the NL and starting in right field. And he wound up getting to play six innings and take three at-bats. Alas, he couldn't notch his first-ever All-Star Game hit. Harper grounded out to third off Dallas Keuchel in the first inning. He struck out against David Price in the fourth inning. And after just missing a double down the left-field line in the sixth, he struck out against Zach Britton. That's three awfully tough lefties for Harper (or anybody) to have to face in succession, but he of course won't make any excuses for an 0-for-3, 2-strikeout night. Harper's career numbers in the Midsummer Classic now stand at 0-for-6 with a walk and three strikeouts.

KEY STAT: The only Washington player ever to hit a home run in the All-Star Game remains Frank Howard off Steve Carlton in 1969 at RFK Stadium.

UP NEXT: The Midsummer Classic heads west next year, to be played in beautiful Petco Park in beautiful San Diego. Then after a stop in Miami in 2017, Nationals Park gets to host the 2018 All-Star Game. No, tickets aren't available yet.

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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USA Today Sports Images

Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

The Orioles have finally found their man.

After entering the Winter Meetings without having yet hired their new manager, a rarity in this era of baseball, the Orioles announced Friday that they had hired Brandon Hyde to fill the role.

Hyde joins the organization after spending half a decade in Chicago under Joe Maddon, and many years prior with the Marlins. He has a long background in player development, something that was important to new Orioles GM Mike Elias, which makes sense considering the state of the organization and their upcoming rebuilding process.

Hyde is 45, so he’ll have the opportunity to stick in Baltimore for a long time if he finds success, however, Elias defines it, in the next few seasons. Many times, the manager leading a team as it embarks on an organizational rebuild is not the same one who leads them back into contention, but the Orioles front office will certainly hope Hyde is up to both tasks.
 
“After conducting an intensive search, I believe that we have found the ideal leader for the next era of Orioles baseball,” said Mike Elias, Orioles Executive Vice President and General Manager, in a statement released Friday.

“Brandon’s deep background in player development and Major League coaching, most recently helping to shape the Cubs into a World Champion, has thoroughly prepared him for this job and distinguished him throughout our interview process. I look forward to introducing him to our fans next week and to working together with him to build the next great Orioles team.”

Elias was thought to have preferred someone with Major League experience, so as to avoid saddling an up-and-coming manager with multiple 90-plus loss seasons inevitably on the horizon in Baltimore. Hyde technically has experience coaching in the big leagues, though it comes in the form of a single game. The Marlins lost his one game as acting manager 2-1 to the Rays, and Jack McKeon was named interim manager the next day.

Maddon has developed a reputation as a stellar communicator and somebody open to analytics, and it stands to reason that Hyde would follow a similar style of leadership, especially considering how critical those traits are in the eyes of Elias.

Hyde replaces Buck Showalter, a beloved figure in Baltimore after his 8 ½ seasons at the helm brought winning baseball back to a city desperate for relevancy. Showalter’s contract was not renewed at the end of this past season, an understandable decision given his age and how long it will be until the franchise is ready to compete again.

Reports swirled about Hyde being named the 20th manager in franchise history as early as Tuesday at the Winter Meetings, though Elias and the front office were quick to emphasize that nothing was official at the time. In the end, Hyde does end up accepting the job, and he’ll be introduced at a press conference Monday.

Nationals bench coach Chip Hale was, along with Hyde, one of six finalists who interviewed for the position, so the Nats won’t be losing a valuable piece of their staff.

The Orioles are in the honeymoon phase of the rebuild, where hope springs eternal and the losses to come haven’t set in yet. Hyde checks all the boxes for what Elias was looking for, and despite his relative inexperience, he’s someone who should excite, if not necessarily inspire, the fanbase in Charm City.

Orioles fans won’t have many exciting acquisitions to cheer on in the near future, but they may have just made one of their most impactful. The O’s finally have their GM-Manager combination set for the foreseeable future, and they’ll hope to experience as much success and more as the previous regime.

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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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USA Today Sports

Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

Orioles new general manager Mike Elias is a busy man out in Las Vegas. Not only is he looking to add much needed talent to Baltimore's roster but he is also searching for a new manager. Elias interviewed six candidates, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, for the vacancy. On Monday, Elias said they were “pretty far along in the process.”

Then the reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Orioles had found their man. 

For a second straight year, Joe Maddon's bench coach has landed a managerial job (Davey Martinez). 

But, in the words of College Gameday's Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!"

Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.