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Wednesday night Orioles game thread: at Royals, 7:40pm ET

The O’s look to continue their winning ways and clinch a series win as they face off against a former Cy Young winner.

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Chicago White Sox Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

After Monday’s high-scoring win over the Royals, the Orioles were rightfully praised for winning their 10th consecutive opening game to begin the season. That 10-0 record in series openers begs the question, though: just how good are the O’s in the follow-up game? The answer: a much less awe-inspiring 4-5. However, tonight’s Game 2 against the lowly Royals is the perfect opportunity to get back to .500 in the second game of series and continue Baltimore’s efforts to chase down first-place Tampa Bay.

Kansas City is one of three teams—along with Oakland and the White Sox—that has yet to crack double-digit wins this season. Playing in front of the home crowd has been more of a blessing than a curse for the Royals this year, as they are 1-13 with a 6.36 ERA in KC, compared to 6-10 with a 5.04 ERA on the road. Things offensively are also worse at home for the AL Central’s cellar dwellers, as their batting average on the season dips 52 points when playing in Kauffman versus on the road.

Kyle Gibson will be tasked with adding to this rough stretch of home form for Kansas City as he takes the bump for the Orioles. The former Minnesota Twin has enjoyed his time as designated veteran innings eater for the O’s this season, racking up a 4-0 record, a respectable 3.93 ERA and a .266 batting average against. Gibson’s seven seasons in Minnesota means he has plenty of familiarity with Kauffman Stadium—with middling success in Kansas City. Gibson’s 4.38 career ERA in the Royals' home park and .264 BAA are slightly below his overall career numbers. Gibson’s last visit to the Royals is one he’ll want to forget though, as his Opening Day start in 2021 saw him give up five runs and only record one out.

Gibson will be opposed by 2009 Cy Young Award winner Zack Greinke. The veteran righty put up decent numbers in his return to KC last year—presumably as his last stop before retirement and eventual enshrinement in Cooperstown. The 39-year-old Greinke has struggled to live up to that form his year, posting a 6.10 ERA in six starts while giving up 4+ runs in his last four straight starts. These struggles, combined with Greinke’s career record against Baltimore, don’t suggest he’ll suddenly turn things on tonight against the O’s. His career 4.65 ERA against the Orioles is his fifth-worst against any opponent. Last season, in his only start against the O’s, Greinke scattered 10 hits over 5.2 innings while only allowing two runs—though that game took place at Camden Yards.

Orioles Lineup

  1. Cedric Mullins (L) CF
  2. Adley Rutschman (S) C
  3. Ryan Mountcastle (R) DH
  4. Anthony Santander (S) RF
  5. Kyle Stowers (L) LF
  6. Jorge Mateo (R) SS
  7. Adam Frazier (L) 2B
  8. Ramón Urías (R) 3B
  9. Ryan O’Hearn (L) 1B

Starting Pitcher: Kyle Gibson (4-0, 3.93 ERA)

Royals Lineup

  1. Bobby Witt Jr. (R) SS
  2. Vinnie Pasquantino (L) DH
  3. Salvador Perez (R) C
  4. MJ Melendez (L) RF
  5. Edward Olivares (R) LF
  6. Nick Pratto (L) 1B
  7. Michael Massey (L) 2B
  8. Maikel Garcia (R) 3B
  9. Kyle Isbel (L) CF

Starting Pitcher: Zack Greinke (0-4, 6.10 ERA)