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Orioles fall to Royals, 4-2; Yovani Gallardo gets roughed up in just two innings

It was a strange series opener in Kansas City against the Royals. Manny Machado hit a home run, but the woes of the Orioles starting pitching performances continued.

Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Of all the games I've watched the Orioles play over the span of my lifetime, I'm not sure I've ever summed one up as "strange" before. But alas, that was just the case tonight against the Royals.

Losing isn't fun. Losing is especially not fun against the defending champs on an 8:15 ET first pitch. Reading a losing recap? Well, I assume it follows suit.

Yovani Gallardo was bad. Really bad. There's just no other way around it. The O's have a starting pitching problem, and Gallardo is as big of an issue than anyone else on the staff.

The starter left the game after just two innings of very ugly baseball, giving up five hits, a walk and four runs (all earned) over 45 pitches. The Royals got plenty of contact, teeing off for three extra base hits including a Mike Moustakas bomb to centerfield in the bottom of the first inning.

It's unclear why he lasted just two innings - via injury or just a very, very short hook from Buck Showalter. Either way, we go back to the word of the night ... strange. There should be more from the skipper later tonight, but he'd be doing everyone a disservice if he didn't flat-out admit that his starting rotation needs an spark lit, and quickly.

Also strange was the incredibly surprising performance from T.J. McFarland out of the 'pen. He entered after Gallardo and shut down KC, getting five scoreless innings with just three hits allowed. He executed beautifully, throwing 66 pitches with dominant stuff. Strange? You bet. Surprising for the Friday night of the bizarre baseball? Not so much.

The lefty lowered his season ERA down to 3.18, a nice dip from the 5.68 he entered with.

To stick with the "randomly out of left field" department, we'll go to the performance of Royals starter Chris Young. The 36-year-old entered the game with a 7.90 ERA, a 1.97 WHIP and three losses. His final line? 6 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 10 Ks. The O's lineup just couldn't put any part of the bat to the baseball against Young, a rather sad performance from, on paper, the best offense in the American League.

Manny Machado hit one out (a solo shot, of course) and Mark Trumbo crunched a double, but any fireworks that were left to be shot were quickly watered down once the lethal Royals bullpen.

Joey Rickard struck out four times - his first major league Golden Sombrero, while Pedro Alvarez fanned twice and lowered his average to .118.

Can you keep reading on for much longer?

Don't worry, the nightmare is about over. And while Friday night wasn't a dream, it was only one game of the 162 and merely the series opener. Two more games await, a 7:15 Saturday night matchup followed by Sunday's matinee at 2:15.

Here's to the road trip getting a bit better for the Birds. Hey, at-least Machado extended that hitting streak to 15 games.