Orioles look to heat up bats, take series from Royals

The Baltimore Orioles hit .255 as a team last season when they won the American League East, but at .236 through five games this season, the Orioles will try to get on track beginning Wednesday afternoon when they face the visiting Kansas City Royals for the finale of a three-game series.

Three Kansas City pitchers held the Orioles to three hits on Tuesday in a 4-1 win. The teams have split the first two games of the season, with Baltimore taking a 6-4 victory on Monday.

“Things have to go your way when you limit a team like that to one run,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said after Tuesday’s game.

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said his team needs a change of approach at the plate.

“We didn’t do anything offensively, so not our best night,” he said. “We had a lot of early-in-the-count outs. We need to be kind of a grind-out, next-guy-up type of team.”

The Royals made the most of their eight hits and three walks.

“We (came) together with more energy and tried to get a win and tied this series,” said Royals third baseman Maikel Garcia, who doubled and tripled.

Garcia has five hits this season, all of them for extra bases.

For the Orioles, who homered six times across their first four games of the season, the balls didn’t drop in the fifth game.

“We had a lot of balls hit right at guys,” Baltimore’s Ryan O’Hearn said. “Sometimes it happens that way.”

The teams played in wet and cold conditions Tuesday night. Wednesday’s forecast looks less than ideal, but at least the teams have gone through rough conditions already.

“It’s not an easy night to hit,” Quatraro said after Tuesday’s win. “Much better when you come out on top. Thankfully, we did get it in.”

On the mound, the Orioles will go with right-hander Corbin Burnes (1-0, 1.50 ERA), whose season debut was a six-inning effort while allowing one run and one hit last Thursday vs. the Los Angeles Angels on Opening Day.

Against the Royals, Burnes is 2-0 in three career starts covering 18 innings with a 1.00 ERA.

Baltimore didn’t have to burn a bunch of pitchers for heavy duty in advance of the series finale, so that could bode well.

“One thing good about (Tuesday’s) game is I thought our bullpen threw the ball great,” Hyde said.

Left-hander Cole Ragans (0-1, 3.00) is scheduled to be on the mound for Kansas City on Wednesday. He gave up two runs and struck out nine last Thursday in a 4-1 Opening Day loss to the Minnesota Twins.

Ragans has made two career appearances in relief against Baltimore, suffering one defeat with a 3.38 ERA in those games.

The Orioles got a look at Colton Cowser as a left fielder and that went well, albeit with a small sample size.

“He has played one game over there (in left) and I thought he played well,” Hyde said of Cowser, who also played there for seven games last season.

The Royals went 23-58 in road games last year, so if they could gain a series victory in their first road venture this season, that would be an accomplishment. Kansas City won two of its first three road games last year (at San Francisco) but didn’t win two straight road games again until mid-May.

–Field Level Media