Mandatory Credit: Joy R. Absalon-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Game One Versus Royals Sets Template for Success


The Baltimore Orioles have a very specific template to follow to beat the Kansas City Royals. It just happens that Thursday’s game against the Royals outlines what the Orioles have to do to win the next three games.

The Orioles came out with a 2-1 victory to improve to 21-18, while the Royals move down to 20-20. Zach Britton replaced Tommy Hunter as the closer for the night, recording his first career save.

Britton successfully recorded the save through a 1-2-3 inning, which Hunter was never able to do in his 11 saves on the season.

Nelson Cruz proved to be the offense for the Orioles again, recording his 12th home run and 34th and 35th RBIs. His offense alone was enough to secure the win behind one-run baseball through five and one-third innings from Wei-Yin Chen, who is now 5-2.

Between the large ballpark in Kansas City and a strong pitching staff, the Orioles are going to have trouble scoring runs, despite their success on the road this season. Thursday’s game was proof of this.

The Orioles have never had major success in Kansas City, and the pitching is going to have to do well to compensate for the lack of offense.

The current Orioles are a combined 10 for 51 with one home run against the next three starters for the Royals. Those starters at the time of this article are Jeremy Guthrie (6 for 26), Danny Duffy (0 for 1), and James Shields (3 for 24, 1 home run) for games two, three, and four of the series respectively.

Buck Showalter mentioned the excellent pitching from Kansas City by sayings fans would not be getting discounts on pizza during this series. The local Baltimore-area Dominos give Orioles fans discounts when the offense puts up five or more runs in a win.

If the pitching needed to improve, now is the time, because the inconsistent offense is going to have problems overcoming good pitching in a pitcher-friendly ballpark.

The remaining Orioles starters, at this time, are Chris Tillman, Bud Norris, and Ubaldo Jimenez.

This 2014 Royals team has not faced Tillman or Norris yet, but they did win 5-0 against Jimenez earlier in the season.

Jimenez gave up six hits with four walks, while personally giving up three runs (charged with four given up by T.J. McFarland in relief).

Tillman and Norris have to take advantage of the Royals having no first-hand experience against this season.

If the Royals pitch as well as they can, one mistake by the Orioles’ pitching staff could cost them a game. I do not expect an offensive showing by the Orioles, but I sure hope they prove me wrong.

In the case of small leads, the bullpen has to maintain the streak it has generated lately. Darren O’day and Troy Patton have been pitching very well, and they need to continue this success if the Orioles are going to get out of Kansas City with more than just one win.

The Orioles won the close game on Thursday, and the pitching is going to have to pitch well again if the Orioles are going to continue to have success against the Royals.

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