The KC Royals begin a three-game series on the road in Baltimore after a day off and losing two of three in New York. The Orioles continue to surprise everyone, as they keep on winning. They are 28-17 and sitting in first place in the American League East (with the best record in the AL). The Royals are still in fourth place in the AL Central (17-26), but just 2.5 games behind the Detroit Tigers for third place.
The O’s have been hitting homeruns (69, which leads all of baseball) and with the heat and humidity this weekend, balls should be flying out of Camden Yards. Adam Jones is tied for second place in the AL with 14 bombs (and there is a rumor that a big deal is about to be announced).
Their pitching has been way better than expected (they have a team ERA of 3.58), though it has been coming back to earth as of late. Closer Jim Johnson has been lights out. He is tied for the most saves with Cleveland’s Chris Perez with 16 (who the Royals will see next), though Johnson has yet to blow a save opportunity.
Baltimore has yet to set a rotation for this weekend’s series outside of Friday’s starter, Jason Hammel.
Friday: Bruce Chen (3-4, 4.17) @ Jason Hammel (5-1, 3.12 ERA)
Chen has won three straight starts and has gone six or more innings in seven of his nine starts this season.
A sore right knee that hasn’t improved has caused short outings for Hammel, despite strong starts. He is expected to keep pitching through the pain because he is more valuable in the rotation than on the DL.
Felipe Paulino (2-1, 1.42 ERA) will get the start on Saturday against the O’s. He has been dominant since coming off the DL. Over four starts, he has just a 1.42 ERA and has beaten the Yankees twice. He held the O’s to five hits in a 15-inning loss on May 16th. Paulino has struck out 29 compared to just seven walks. I will be in attendance for this game, so hopefully I can get some good pics.
Luke Hochevar (3-5, 6.61 ERA) will start the series finale on Sunday for the Royals. He has pitched well of late, despite going 1-2 over his last three starts.
*Nate Adcock will be skipped in the rotation this series, but will be back in the rotation to start Monday’s series opener in Cleveland.
**For more on the Orioles, check out Charm City Yakyuu.