O's game blog: Right-hander Corbin Burnes faces Kansas City

After a rough Friday for O’s pitching – especially the bullpen – the Orioles send ace right-hander Corbin Burnes (2-0, 2.28 ERA) to the mound tonight to try and restore order and even the series in Kansas City.

When right-hander Dean Kremer walked back-to-back batters in the last of the sixth with one out, he was allowed to get one more out and then pulled for lefty Keegan Akin with the O’s down 1-0 in the series opener.

A couple of groundballs found holes to plate three more runs and Kansas City was on its way to a five-run sixth and three-run seventh to post a 9-4 win over the Orioles.

The Royals (13-7) lost their first two home games of this season and have now won nine in a row at Kauffman Stadium. They have outscored their opponents 70-26 on the year at home and by 68-17 during the nine straight home wins.

Kansas City and Cleveland are tied for the MLB lead on the season with a plus-45 run differential.

The Orioles bullpen has given up at least one run in eight straight games and has an ERA of 6.61 in the eight contests. O’s starting pitchers have just one quality start in the last nine games.

The Orioles (12-7) began play this morning 1.5 games out in the AL East. They gained a half-game when Tampa Bay beat the Yankees 2-0 in 10 innings. The Orioles are 2-2 versus the Royals, 4-3 on the road and 5-2 in series-opening games. The Birds had a four-game win streak snapped Friday.

The Orioles have either won or tied their last seven series with Kansas City since July of 2021. They need two wins in the next two days to keep that riding.

The O’s were down 6-0 in the seventh last night when Adley Rutschman hit his first career grand slam. He had a 3-for-5 night as he raised his average from .275 to .297 and OPS from .685 to 759.

Center fielder Cedric Mullins singled and scored on the grand slam, extending his hitting streak to ten games. Mullins is 12-for-34 during this run, batting .353 with an OPS of 1.057 during his streak with a double, three homers, 10 runs and eight RBIs.

The Orioles' Opening Day starter, Burnes makes his fifth start tonight and the Orioles are 4-0 in the first four. He has two quality starts and has allowed one, two, one and two earned runs in his four outings. He has thrown 82, 100, 90 and 98 pitches.

For the year, Burnes has thrown 23 2/3 innings allowing 18 hits with four walks and 25 strikeouts. He has a 0.930 WHIP, allowing a .205 batting average and .580 OPS with a 1.5 walk rate and 9.5 K rate.

Burnes has an ERA of 9.00 in the first innings of his starts and all three homers he has given up have come in the first inning.

He has allowed a .934 opponent OPS the first time through an order this year, a .352 OPS the second time through and .255 the third time.

Burnes allowed two runs and nine hits over 5 2/3 innings against Kansas City on April 3. In four career games versus the Royals, he is 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA, with an OPS against of .495.

Lefty Cole Ragans (0-1, 1.93 ERA) gets the start for Kansas City. Even though the Royals are 1-3 in his games, he has allowed two, zero, three and zero runs.

In 23 1/3 innings, he has allowed one homer with a 1.200 WHIP, a 2.7 walk rate and an 11.2 strikeout rate. On April 3 at Baltimore, he pitched 6 1/3 scoreless allowing one hit on 91 pitches.

This pitching matchup features Ragans, who is 12th in the AL in ERA, and Burnes, who is tied for 15th. 

MLB average exit velocity leaders:

97.0 mph - Gunnar Henderson, Baltimore Orioles

96.1 mph - Juan Soto, NY Yankees

95.9 mph - William Contreras, Milwaukee Brewers

Rutschman's grand slam marked the first slam by an O's batter since Cedric Mullins on Sept. 11, 2023 against St. Louis, and first by an O's catcher since Pedro Severino on Aug. 26, 2021 versus the Los Angeles Angels. Rutschman is the 13th Oriole (29th occurrence) to hit a grand slam while in the game as a catcher.





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