Series Preview: Orioles (20-18) at Royals (20-19)


We now reach the middle portion of the current nine game homestand following a sweep of Colorado the past two games. Next up for the Royals (20-19) are the Orioles (20-18) who KC took two-of-three from a few weeks ago out east. Reminder that Sunday is Dressed to the Nines as there will be the annual salute to the Negro Leagues.

Yordano Ventura opens the series versus Baltimore at Kauffman Stadium tonight, he beat them 5-0 early this season. Photo Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Since this is the final time these teams face one another what better time to ask some questions to Domenic Vadala who’s the senior editor over at Birds Watcher.

Kings of Kauffman – These teams just met a few weeks ago, outside of the sweep against Detroit how are the O’s?
Birds Watcher – The Orioles are struggling a bit with their bats, however that’s going to happen with all teams from time to time.

KOK – Matt Wieters is out, that’s a big loss and how have the Orioles adjusted to that injury?
BW – It’s tough to replace a switch-hitting gold glove catcher. However Baltimore-native Steve Clevenger has held down the fort very well, as has the Orioles’ new backup Caleb Joseph. Clevenger threw out three runners on the base paths the other night, although in total he has had some challenges holding runners on base. However he’s also pretty solid at the plate himself, and he had a walk off RBI last week.

KOK – Pitching wise the names are similar on both sides to what we saw when KC won that series at Camden Yards. Thoughts on the pitching Kansas City will see from Baltimore?
BW – The Orioles do have some issues with starters going deep into games. However Oriole starters will be pitching on an extra days’ rest due to Kevin Gausman being added to the rotation. The real question is the back end of the bullpen, as closer Tommy Hunter has blown two consecutive save opportunities. Many Oriole fans are hoping for a save situation just to see who comes out of the ‘pen in the ninth inning.

KOK – Series predictions
BW – These two teams appear fairly evenly matched in a sense. While KC took two-of-three a few weeks ago, Adam Jones has also hit very well at Kaufman Stadium in the past. Ultimately I see a 2/2 split.

Probably Pitching Match-ups:
Thursday, 7:10 pm – Wei-Yin Chen/LHP (4-2, 3.95) v. Yordano Ventura/RHP (2-2, 2.34)
Friday, 7:10 pm – Chris Tillman/RHP (3-2, 3.97) v. Jeremy Guthrie/RHP (2-2, 4.80)
Saturday, 6:10 pm – Bud Norris (2-3, 3.98) v. Danny Duffy/LHP (1-3, 1.96)
Sunday, 1:10 pm – Ubaldo Jimenez/RHP (2-4, 4.02) v. James Shields/RHP (5-3, 2.54)

Comments on Pitching Match-ups – Like the first match-up between these teams, Baltimore will see Ventura and Shields to open and close the series. Guthrie faces his former team once again in game two against Tillman. Saturday night looks intriguing with Norris against Duffy in my eyes given two young pitchers who have yet to put it all together yet. Fans I think will be treated to four solid games in terms how the rotations lined-up for this weekend.

Series Predictions – Domenic likes this to be a series split between the clubs but I truly feel that it’ll be Kansas City taking three of four. KC for whatever reason early this season have played, pitched, hit better at the K (minus hitting homeruns) than on the road. When these two played at Baltimore the Royals averaged 5.3 runs which if they do, will win this series which I anticipate given the O’s are coming off a sweep at home versus Detroit.

2014 Meetings:
It was just April 25-27 when fans last saw the Birds at Camden Yards so familiarity will be apparent. Game one was a 5-0 victory behind Ventura’s dazzling outing on that Friday night. Ned Yost made some interesting roster decisions regarding his bench game two losing 3-2 in ten innings, in addition to Duffy not being able to throw to the bases. Shields was strong and got run support in the finale as KC won 9-3 getting the series victory.

Franchise History:
Kansas City still trails the all-time series 258-200 against Baltimore despite adding two more wins as mentioned. In the City of Fountains the O’s still lead 119-110 but trail our boys in blue 103-102 at Kauffman Stadium.

TV/Radio Coverage:
Fans can tune into FOX Sports Kansas City for all three games with Steve Physioc and Rex Hudler. Joel Goldberg and Jeff Montgomery host Royals Live pre and postgame from Rivals in right field. Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews is joined in the booth by Ryan Lefebvre and Steve Stewart will be on the Royals Radio Network (610 Sports Radio in KC) describing everything from the K.

AL Central Standings (May 15):
Detroit Tigers (24-13)
Kansas City Royals (20-19, 5.5 GB)
Minnesota Twins (19-20, 6.5 GB)
Chicago White Sox (20-22, 7 GB)
Cleveland Indians (19-21, 7 GB)

2014 Series Schedule/Results v. Orioles
April 25-27, Oriole Park at Camden Yards – W 5-0, L 3-2 F/10, W 9-3
May 15-18, Kauffman Stadium

Game Notes:
Baltimore Orioles
Kansas City Royals