O's game blog: Jordan Lyles pitches Game 1 for Orioles

When we last saw them on the field, the Orioles were beating the first-place Minnesota Twins on Wednesday and Thursday nights. They pounded out 12 hits and scored nine runs over the third and fourth innings Wednesday in a 9-4 win. They hit five solo homers in Thursday’s 5-3 victory to split a four-game series.

But the Orioles (10-16) and Kansas City Royals (8-15) have been rained out Friday and Saturday nights. So now this is a two-day, three-game series with a doubleheader this afternoon and a single game to wrap up the series tomorrow at 12:05 p.m.

The Orioles have won four of six games and are 4-3 on this homestand and 7-6 in home games in 2022. They are 14-5 in their past 19 home games against Kansas City since the 2015 season.

K.C. began the year 5-5, but is 3-10 since and most recently has lost five of its past six games. The Royals have been shut out three times in the past five games and four times on the year. They are 2-6 in road games. Manager Mike Matheny is sitting on 699 career wins.

When Baltimore bashed five homers Thursday, it marked the club's first time hitting at least five in a game since June 19, 2021 versus Toronto, when they hit six longballs. According to Elias Sports Bureau, this was the 11th time in team history that the O’s have hit five solo home runs in a game, with the last time also coming on June 19, 2021, when five of their six homers were solo shots. The Orioles have hit at least five in a game 67 times in team history, going 59-8 in such games.

O’s starting pitchers have pitched to a 2.67 ERA (18 earned runs over 60.2 innings pitched) in 13 home games this season, the third-best mark in the American League and the ninth-best in the majors through Friday. Orioles starters have allowed three home runs at Oriole Park, tied with the Arizona Diamondbacks for the fewest home runs allowed at home by a starting rotation in 2022.

Right-hander Jordan Lyles (2-2, 4.50 ERA) will make his sixth start in the series opener. Three times he has allowed one earned run or zero in a game this year. That includes his last outing, when he got a win Sunday against Boston. He went six innings, allowing seven hits and one run on 101 pitches. That was the first time and only time on the season an O’s starter has reached the 100-pitch mark.

Lyles is using his two- and four-seam fastballs a combined 47 percent with an average velocity of 91.7 mph. He throws his slider 25 percent with a 35.3 whiff rate, uses his changeup 17 percent and curveball 11 percent.

Righty Zack Greinke (0-2, 2.57 ERA) will make his sixth start of the year and the 494th of his career when he takes the mound in the opener for Kansas City. Greinke has allowed 24 hits with three walks and a very low strikeout total of seven in 28 innings this year. His walk rate is 1.0 and his strikeout rate is 2.3.

He gave up just one run on three hits on 88 pitches over six innings on Monday at St. Louis. The Royals are just 1-4 in his starts, yet he has allowed two earned runs or fewer four times. He just has not gotten much run support this season to date.

In 11 career games (nine starts) against the Orioles, he is 3-2 with a 4.79 ERA. In two games last year for Houston against Baltimore, he went 1-0 with a 2.92 ERA.

In the nightcap later today, O’s lefty Bruce Zimmermann (1-1, 2.59 ERA) will try to keep his strong start to his season going. Zimmermann has allowed two earned runs or fewer four times in his five outings. In his most recent outing, against Minnesota, he allowed four hits and two runs over five innings on 81 pitches.

Zimmermann has thrown, in order, 66, 75, 76, 76 and 81 pitches in his outings, and the Orioles are 3-2 in those games. He has been strong at home, going 0-0 with a 1.29 ERA. He has allowed 11 hits and two runs over 14 home innings, with six walks and 14 strikeouts, and Zimmermann has not allowed an Oriole Park homer in 2022.

For the season, he has thrown 24 1/3 innings, allowing 23 hits and seven earned runs with eight walks to 25 strikeouts. He has produced a WHIP of 1.274 with a 0.4 homer rate, 3.0 walk rate and 9.2 strikeout rate. Lefty batters hit .154 with an OPS of .445 against him, and right-handers bat .273/.721.

Kansas City’s Game 2 starter is right-hander Daniel Lynch (2-1, 3.86 ERA), who will be making his fifth outing. In his first start of the year he allowed six runs over five innings. But over his past three, he has a 1.69 ERA, allowing 10 hits and three runs over 16 innings. In those games opponents have hit just .175/.254/.263/.517 off Lynch. This will be his first career start against Baltimore.

The Orioles have turned 31 double plays this year, the most in the American League and the second-most in the majors, behind the Colorado Rockies with 40.

Note: There will be just one game blog for both games today. So for between-game comments and Game 2 comments, stay in this entry, and thanks.

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