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Orioles woes continue in 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay

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Orioles woes continue in 3-1 loss to Tampa Bay

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. – The normally reliable Darren O’Day had a most unusual inning. For the first time in nearly two years, he allowed three hits, and in a shocking turnaround, the Orioles went from holding a tight one-run lead to a three-run loss.

The Tampa Bay Rays’ 3-1 win over the Orioles before 17,838 at Tropicana Field was disheartening because for the second straight start, Chris Tillman was nearly unhittable.

Tillman took a 1-0 lead into the eighth. After allowing just one hit and retiring the final 23 batters in a row last Saturday, Tillman gave up just two hits in seven innings.

After walking the leadoff batter in the eighth, Kevin Kiermaier, he was out of the game, and O’Day, who allowed two hits in just three of his previous 36 appearances, had his roughest inning of an All-Star season.

“He’s so much better than tonight. He gets many mulligans with us,” manager Buck Showalter said.

O’Day’s ERA rose from 1.04 to 1.51.

Joey Butler flied to center, and Kiermaier stole second. Steven Souza struck out, and John Jason singled to right-center, scoring Kiermaier.

Evan Longoria’s single to shallow center put runners on first and third and James Loney was walked intentionally.

Tim Beckham’s single to center hopped off the front of the mound and drove in Jaso and Longoria, and suddenly it was 3-1.

"I made some good pitches. Made a couple really bad pitches. The one to Jaso was pretty bad and the one to Beckham, 0-2, I have to be better than that. Can't leave anything close to the zone where he can win the game like that. Longoria didn't hit the ball hard, but he did his job. He got his bat on the ball with two strikes and extended the inning,” O’Day said.

The Orioles (46-49) have lost four straight and 15 of 20, and for the seventh time in the last eight games, scored three runs or fewer.

“The story is we just haven’t scored any runs,” Showalter said.

The Orioles had a 1-0 lead and Tillman looked to be on the way to his sixth straight win.

Tillman became the first Orioles pitcher since Matt Riley in 2004 with consecutive starts of seven innings, one run and two hits.

“I’m just executing better and when I do get in trouble I’m able to make a pitch to get out of it.  It’s been there for a while now, just kind of carried over from the last couple starts from the first half and we are taking advantage of it,” Tillman said.

Manny Machado, who batted third for the first time in his major league career, had two singles, a walk and was hit by a pitch. He scored the Orioles’ only run in the fourth on Chris Davis’ double.

“We’re just a couple of hits away. We’re just a couple of innings away. We’ve just got to clean it up. It’s just part of the game, it’s part of the grind that we’ve got to get. This is where champions are made right here,” Machado said.

Alex Colome (4-4) got the win for Tampa Bay (49-49) with a scoreless eighth. Jake McGee got his fifth save.

Machado was hit in the left shoulder by Colome in the eighth. He yelled at Colome that the pitch was too close to his head. Colome wagged his finger, saying “no, no, no” to Machado.

Home plate umpire John Tumpane, a fill-in from Triple-A, warned both benches because Beckham had been hit an inning earlier by Tillman.

“I just saw the ball up and in. Nobody likes to get thrown at at the head, but it wasn’t intentional like I said. It’s just part of the game. I’ve got to go out there and take a hit by pitch, go to first base like I did and just move on,” Machado said.

Tampa Bay’s Chris Archer allowed a run on five hits in six innings, striking out nine.

The Orioles remain seven games behind in the American League East, and their clubhouse was perhaps the quietest all season.

Asked to assess the clubhouse’s mood, O’Day said: “Look around.”

Tillman said his teammates’ mood won’t change, said the team will stay upbeat.

“Clubhouse is fine. I’ve never seen it change, win or lose, rain or shine it’s always the same. We got a lot of veteran guys in there that do the job and that’s what’s going on now as well. We are not playing bad baseball. We just aren’t getting the timely hits and timely pitches,” Tillman said.

The one-run losses shouldn’t eat at the Orioles.

“You’d rather be in a close game than a blowout,” Tillman said.

COMING UP: Miguel Gonzalez (8-6, 4.21) faces Erasmo Ramirez (8-3, 3.54) on Saturday at 6:10 p.m.

MORE ORIOLES: Showalter not listening to rumors

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Orioles finally hire Brandon Hyde as new manager

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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.