There's no such thing as a must-win game in May, which is a good thing, because the Orioles haven't played very well in this Kansas City series. A lineup that does not have Adam Jones in it, seemingly for a routine day off, doesn't give the most confidence that they could win this particular contest.
Today's Royals starter, Chris Young, is a righty junkballer who's been averaging about 88mph with his fastball. He was not good last year and got kicked out of the starting rotation. He has not been good this year and is only getting this start because other people are hurt. This is the kind of guy the Orioles need to beat to avoid a road sweep and it's the kind of guy (it feels like) has inexplicably dominated them. We'll see how that plays out today.
If you want to look at some silver lining about this Jones-less lineup, it may be found in Jonathan Schoop batting second. So far this season, Schoop has been hitting .293/.341/.509, a number that may be somewhat influenced by BABIP luck in his favor, with a .319 BABIP compared to last year's .305. But they're good enough numbers that he'd still be looking good even if you evened out the luck.
In short, Schoop is playing like a guy who deserves to be higher than he has been. One game's results won't give us a definitive answer either way about whether this should continue - and really, it's more about who is ahead of Schoop than about Schoop himself. But with the Orioles regular 3-4-5 hitters all batting .239 or lower, I wonder how long before manager Buck Showalter thinks about making a bigger change.
It would be nice if Kevin Gausman could pitch well today. Hopefully his defense helps him, or at least doesn't hurt him, in the cavernous expanses of the Kansas City outfield.
|BALTIMORE ORIOLES||KANSAS CITY ROYALS|
|Seth Smith - RF||Alcides Escobar - SS|
|Jonathan Schoop - 2B||Mike Moustakas - 3B|
|Manny Machado - 3B||Lorenzo Cain - CF|
|Chris Davis - 1B||Eric Hosmer - 1B|
|Mark Trumbo - DH||Jorge Soler - RF|
|Hyun Soo Kim - LF||Brandon Moss - DH|
|Joey Rickard - CF||Whit Merrifield - 2B|
|Ryan Flaherty - SS||Alex Gordon - LF|
|Caleb Joseph - C||Drew Butera - C|
|Kevin Gausman - RHP||Chris Young - RHP|