Probable pitchers and staring lineups, KC Royals vs. Baltimore, April 21

Kansas City can win another series today.
Jamie Sabau/GettyImages
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Suddenly and refreshingly accomplishing unfamiliar things, the KC Royals find themselves in an increasingly familiar place headed into Sunday's series-concluding matchup with Baltimore.

Exactly a year to the day the last-place club fell to 4-16 for the 2023 season, this year's restructured and rejuvenated Royals can improve their record to 14-8 and win a series for the fourth time. Hard to come by for too many seasons, those two things — winning games and winning series — are now becoming common.

So, too, is the kind of grit the Royals displayed Saturday night. Down 7-0 after the Orioles knocked around and out starter Cole Ragans in the second inning, Kansas City rallied for three runs in the sixth and another four in the seventh to get within a run (the O's scored once in the top of the seventh). And although the Royals eventually lost 9-7, their comeback reflects a resiliency rarely seen in Kansas City since the remarkable 2014 and 2015 World Series runs.

But this is a different and better team than 2023's 106-loss club. That's why beating the 13-7 Orioles, who trail the Yankees by only half a game game in the American League East, Sunday isn't the unreasonable expectation it would have been last season.

With a win, the Royals will reach 14 victories 26 days before they hit that mark last year. What should fans know before Sunday's 1:10 p.m. CDT first pitch?

Who's starting on the mound for the Royals and Baltimore?

Seth Lugo, whose 3-0 record and 1.05 ERA make him Kansas City's best starter so far, gets the ball for the Royals. Averaging slightly less than six inning per start, and as that low ERA proves, he's been miserly in four starts, giving up only three runs in 25.2 innings — he shut out Minnesota for six innings March 30, and the White Sox for seven frames April 15.

The Orioles will counter with Cole Irvin, who the Royals beat 4-1 April 2 in Baltimore when they scored all four of their runs during the five innings he worked. Irvin is 0-1 with a 6.75 ERA this season and 2-3, 2.83 lifetime against Kansas City.

What does KC manager Matt Quatraro's lineup card look like?

Here's who's starting for the Royals:

Who's Baltimore manager Brandon Hyde deploying against the Royals?

Here's the Orioles' lineup:

Can anyone slow down Salvador Perez?

That's the question the Orioles have to be asking after Perez drove in a career-high tying five runs Saturday night. He collected three hits, including his sixth home run of the season, and has now nicked Baltimore pitchers for 10 hits, two homers, nine RBI and a .500 average this season.

Having an excellent year so far, he's also hitting .351 with four homers and 13 RBI in his last 10 games.

The game is available on TV, via stream, and on radio

Bally Sports Kansas City will telecast today's contest. But if you prefer to stream, here's how to do it, and you can listen in on the Royals Radio Network, including KCSP-AM 610 Sports Radio in the Kansas City area.

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