The brief time off the All-Star Break affords major league players ends tonight for the KC Royals when they host Baltimore to kick off a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
The weekend contests pit two once-proud franchises fallen on prolonged bad times, a pair of clubs who started this season well but unceremoniously flopped. The Orioles led the American League East for several early April days and lingered close to .500 through the first week of May; the Royals led the Central as late as the beginning of play May 5.
Now, the O’s and Royals square off as last place teams. At 28-61, Baltimore is 26 games behind first place Boston while the Royals, 36-53, trail the White Sox by 18.
The Orioles’ only visit to Kansas City this season represents a homecoming of sorts for four players—Jorge Lopez, Matt Harvey, Maikel Franco, and Kelvin Gutierrez all played for the Royals.
How are they doing in Baltimore?
One ex-KC Royals player is playing well for the O’s, but it’s a small sample.
There was a time after last season ended when thinking of Kelvin Gutierrez as KC’s top backup infielder made sense. But the Royals’ early February signing of versatile and big league-proven Hanser Alberto put Gutierrez’s Kansas City future in doubt. But after managing to play 38 games for the club season, his .215 average, and Alberto’s .265, better glove, and greater versatility, spelled the end of Gutierrez’s Royal days.
The club shipped him to Baltimore for cash considerations July 3. He’s played four times since and has three hits in 10 at-bats and a walk. Time will tell how Gutierrez will fare with the Orioles.