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Orioles-Royals series preview: Facing the worst of the AL Central

The Orioles conclude their season series with the Royals this weekend at Camden Yards

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Baltimore Orioles
Bobby Witt, Jr.
Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Kansas City Royals are coming to town and, if the Orioles had just had a bit more successful a road trip, I might be feeling cocky. If not for the historically bad season being had by the Oakland A’s this season, all eyes would be on the Royals and their 18-44 as the most pathetic team in baseball.

They are seven games worse than the next team above them in wins, the lowly Washington Nationals. They are in last place in the worst division in baseball, the AL Central. They average under four runs per game scored and over five runs per game allowed, ranking 27th best in both categories. Their team OBP is .294 and their team ERA+ is 87. Veteran Salvador Perez and youngster Vinnie Pasquantino are the only players batting better than league average. They are really bad.

But I’m not getting cocky. For one thing, the Royals are a Major League baseball team. They can win on any given day, and in fact, they beat the Orioles once earlier this season. For another thing, I am an Orioles fan. I am conditioned to wait for things to fall apart. I have spent most of my life watching my team underperform.

Are the Orioles better than the Royals? Yes, of course they are. They are better hitters. They are better pitchers. Are they good enough to beat them every single game this weekend? Yes, of course they are. Do I think they’ll do it? Let me remind you again, I am an Orioles fan.

I’m not a fan of loser talk, which might surprise you because I seemingly did a lot of it in the paragraphs before this one. But I also think that after the Orioles successfully navigated a very difficult part of their season schedule, the general feeling around Birdland seemed to be that things would be easy now. But it hasn’t been, and you know why? Because none of it’s easy! The entire season is the hard part. To quote famous baseball manager Jimmy Dugan, “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it.”

The Orioles should and hopefully will win at least two games of this series. Anything less would be disappointing and upsetting.

Game 1: Friday, June 9th, 7:05 pm

LHP Daniel Lynch (4.35 ERA/2.22 FIP) vs RHP Tyler Wells (3.29 ERA/4.56 FIP)

In 44 major league starts over the past three seasons, Daniel Lynch has a 5.27 ERA. That’s not good, but a mediocre lefty does tend to scare me. In two starts this season, the 26-year-old has pitched decently with 13 strikeouts in 10.1 innings. He has yet to allow a home run, but he did surrender them at a good clip from 2021-22.

To date, Tyler Wells has outpitched his FIP quite a bit, making me nervous. He has struggled with the long ball, having given up 14 in just 68.1 innings. But he has excelled at limited walks and he’s holding opposing batters to a ridiculous .178 batting average. That adds up to a league-leading .0.849 WHIP. He did not fare well against the Royals earlier this season. He gave up three home runs in his 6 innings pitched.

One note, the Orioles will be wearing their City Connect jerseys tonight and have yet to win a game in them. Let’s break that tradition tonight, shall we?

Game 2: Saturday, June 10th, 4:05 pm

RHP Brady Singer (6.45 ERA/4.50 FIP) vs TBD but probably LHP Cole Irvin (10.38 ERA/5.36 FIP)

Singer has an ugly ERA but he’s coming off of a good start against the Rockies and has sprinkled in some good starts amongst his dozen made so far. Overall, things have been pretty bleak for the 2018 first-round pick. Did he learn something new in his start against the Rockies, when he struck out seven and walked none? I sure hope not.

Cole Irvin has made seven starts in the minors and might have possibly gotten his groove back. The walks that plagued him in his few major-league starts this season have been gone from his minor-league performances. He hasn’t been announced as the pitcher for Saturday and last pitched on May 31st for the Tides. Going with another bullpen game doesn’t seem like a good idea, so let’s see what Irvin can do.

Game 3: Sunday, June 11th, 1:35 pm

TBD but maybe RHP Zack Greinke (4.59 ERA/4.38 FIP) vs Kyle Gibson (3.87 ERA/3.95 FIP)

Zack Greinke will be on regular rest on Sunday so while he hasn’t been named, he could be the starter for the series finale. Greinke is coming off of a very rough start against the Marlins, but other than that he’s been pitching pretty darn well for a 39-year-old. The legend hurled five shutout frames against the Orioles when he faced them back on May 3rd. Five innings is about his limit these days.

If Greinke pitches, this game will be a rematch of earlier this season where he also faced off against Kyle Gibson. Gibson got lit up by the Royals, surrendering six runs in the game. Most of that came in the seventh inning, though, so I’ll cut him some slack as long as he does better this time.


How many games will the Orioles win against the Royals this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 1%
    0 (swept)
    (5 votes)
  • 4%
    (18 votes)
  • 52%
    (204 votes)
  • 41%
    3 (sweep!)
    (161 votes)
388 votes total Vote Now