KANSAS CITY -- The Orioles know they have a long road ahead of them, not just in 2018, but in '19 and beyond. The gap when it comes to competing against the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox looms large for Baltimore as it begins a rebuild.But any comparison
KANSAS CITY -- The Orioles know they have a long road ahead of them, not just in 2018, but in '19 and beyond. The gap when it comes to competing against the likes of the Yankees and Red Sox looms large for Baltimore as it begins a rebuild.
But any comparison between the O's and the Royals -- who are also in a rebuild -- being in a similar plight withered away after Kansas City's 9-1 series-sweeping win on Sunday. A Royals club that entered the series with the second-worst record in baseball put some distance between themselves and the O's, showcasing a better offense, defense and a trio of exciting young pitching prospects in the weekend set.
The Orioles, meanwhile, were unable to get a quality start out of veteran Andrew Cashner, Opening Day starter Dylan Bundy and, on Sunday, rookie David Hess.
Perhaps the gap between Baltimore and Kansas City is wider than it first appeared?
"No, not necessarily, no. I think that's all proof in the pudding. Two, three, four years from now, we'll see where everybody is," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said following his team's third sweep in four series. "I try this time of year not to rush to judgment on certain things, and today, this series may have looked that way, but things can change quickly."
Hess, like many of the O's current roster, is fighting to make an impression and prove he's part of the future. And while the 25-year-old had put together a solid three-start stretch, things came undone in a three-error third inning that gave Kansas City the lead for good.
"Right now there is a lot of learning going on,"said Hess, who was charged with two of the miscues, including an errant pickoff throw. "Just like anything else, this is something to take and to learn from and move forward on."
The Orioles other error that inning came from Jonathan Villar, with the Royals plating three runs to take a 4-1 lead. Hess went four innings, his shortest start in a month, and was charged with five runs (four earned) on nine hits.
"That was probably the biggest thing that stuck out to me, [we made] careless mistakes, things that we've really talked about lately that we really need to kind of hunker down," said Chris Davis, who had two hits Sunday as the designated hitter. "That's when things start to kind of spiral downward, when you start making those mistakes and give the other team the momentum and give them a chance to score a bunch of runs. It makes it tough on your team."
Royals rookie Jorge Lopez held the Orioles to one run -- Villar's homer in the first -- over seven innings in his fourth start for Kansas City. Lopez recorded his second career Major League win, holding the O's to five hits with no walks and striking out eight.
"As disappointing as some of the pitching and the defense [was], we scratched one run off a home run and that's about it," Showalter said. "[Lopez is] a good young pitcher. He's impressive."
Orioles reliever Mike Wright Jr. allowed four runs in the eighth as the Orioles -- who sustained a walk-off loss on Saturday -- were outscored 23-7 over the three-game series.
"There's no doubt. This last month of baseball is going to put out a lot of opportunity for guys to show what they can do at this level," Davis said. "That's pretty evident with the lineups you are seeing every night. Guys are getting the opportunity to play and showcase their ability. I hope they can take advantage of it."
HE SAID IT
"They're playing good baseball right now, and even though their overall record may not indicate that, they came out ready to go this series. So, like I said, just the approach they have right now, I think that is something we are fully capable of. I think we are going to get to that point, and each day we're making progress towards that." -- Hess, on the Royals
Lefty Josh Rogers will make his second career start on Monday at Safeco Field. Rogers will face Mariners righty Erasmo Ramirez in the opener, with first pitch slated for 9:10 p.m. ET.
Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.