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Jorge Lopez shuts down Orioles as Royals roll, 9-1

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Jorge Lopez shuts down Orioles as Royals roll, 9-1

Jorge Lopez showed some of the potential the Royals saw when they traded for him in late July, scattering five hits over a career-best seven innings and helping Kansas City rout the Baltimore Orioles 9-1 on Sunday.

The Royals completed a three-game sweep of the only team in the majors with a worse record than theirs.

The only run Lopez (1-4) allowed came in the first, when Jonathan Villar sent a mistake over the left-field wall. Lopez bounced back to strike out a career-high eight without a walk to earn his second win and first since Sept. 29, 2015, when he was still with the Brewers.

Lopez was part of the deal for third baseman Mike Moustakas at the non-waiver trade deadline.

Meibrys Viloria had his first career hit a day after arriving from Class-A Wilmington, a two-run double in the eighth. Alcides Escobar also had three hits and an RBI as Kansas City piled up 14 hits, its sixth straight game with at least 10 and the longest such streak since June 24-29, 2016.

Most of the damage came against David Hess (3-9), who allowed five runs on nine hits and a trio of Baltimore errors -- all of which came after his own mistakes during a dreadful third inning.

The first error came with nobody out, when Hess threw the ball away trying to pick Merrifield off first base. Then, with two down, Hess tried to chase Jorge Bonifacio back to second and the ball squirreled away again. Bonifacio headed for third and second baseman Breyvic Valera tried to throw him out there, but the ball bounced away for yet another error that allowed Bonifacio to score.

The Royals added a run in the fourth and three in the eighth as they wrapped up their second straight sweep. They've won three consecutive series and seven of their last eight games.

FIRST PITCH

Royals vice president Mike Swanson threw out the ceremonial first pitch to honor his 40 years in baseball. Swanson's mother, Betty, spent nearly four decades working for the Royals and Chiefs, while her son has worked for the Rockies, Padres and Diamondbacks along with his time in Kansas City.

CLOSER CONCERNS

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he will try several options in the closer role after Mychael Givens blew another save Saturday night. "You've got to get people out, and pitch when you're asked and take advantage of the opportunity," Showalter said, "including Mike and some other guys."

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Pedro Araujo (right elbow strain) will not pitch again this season. He's been on the DL since June 11. "He's going to be fine, I think, for next year," Showalter said, "but I don't think he'll pitch in September. I don't see any of the feedback that fits that scenario."

Royals: OF Jorge Soler (fractured left toe) experienced a setback in his rehab and will likely shut down for the remainder of the season, manager Ned Yost said. Soler went on the DL on June 16, when he was hitting .265 with nine homers and 28 RBIs.

UP NEXT

The Orioles head to Seattle for three games beginning Monday night, when LHP Josh Rogers (1-0, 5.40 ERA) is on the mound. The Royals begin a trip to Cleveland and Minnesota with RHP Jakob Junis (7-12, 4.53 ERA) taking the hill against the Indians on Monday night.

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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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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.