O's game blog: The series with the Kansas City Royals begins

The Orioles and Kansas City Royals may be forced to dodge some raindrops the next few days, but they are scheduled to begin a three-game series tonight at Camden Yards.

The Orioles (2-1) are a game and a half back of the 4-0 New York Yankees for the American League East lead. They opened the season with wins by 11-3 and 13-4 scores over the Los Angeles Angels before they were held to three hits in Sunday's 4-1 loss.

Kansas City scored big in its third game after losing the first two to Minnesota by 4-1 and 5-1 scores before Sunday's 11-0 win.

The Orioles rank fourth in the AL in team batting average (.267) and OBP (.347). They are third in slugging (.475) and third in OPS (.823) behind only Texas (.891) and Cleveland (.832).

The O's will travel to Kansas City for three games from April 19-21. The Birds went 5-1 against the Royals last year; they took two out of three at Kauffman Stadium from May 2-4 before completing a three-game sweep in Baltimore from June 9-11.

Through three games the Orioles have scored 25 runs, and their 8.33 runs per game average leads the AL. By scoring 25 runs in the first three games, the 2024 Orioles tied the 2006 Birds for most runs in the first three games. The four-game team record is 33 runs in 2006.

The O's pitching staff tied a club record with 35 strikeouts in three games as this year's club matched the 2016 club. That 2016 team holds the record for the first four games with 42 strikeouts.

On the mound tonight, right-hander Dean Kremer (13-5, 4.12 ERA in 2023) makes his season debut. Kremer got off to a slow start last season with a 6.67 ERA after his first six starts in April.

But he surely would get it going, and the Orioles went 24-8 in his 32 starts as he pitched 172 2/3 innings and recorded a career high for wins. His 13 victories tied for sixth in the AL. He posted a 1.31 WHIP with a 2.9 walk rate and 8.2 strikeout rate.

Starting Aug. 4 and over his last 10 regular-season starts, he went 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA, a .226 batting average against and .612 OPS allowed.

Tonight will mark Kremer's second career start against the Royals and the first at Oriole Park. He allowed two runs (one earned) on four hits and two walks with two strikeouts in five innings on June 12, 2022, earning the win in Kansas City. Kremer owns a lifetime 2-5 record and 6.48 ERA (28 ER/41.2 IP) in nine starts against the AL Central.

Kansas City's 11-0 win Sunday was its largest shutout victory since an 11-0 victory versus the Pirates on Sept. 13, 2020. It happened thanks in part to five home runs, the Royals' most in a game at Kauffman Stadium since July 22, 2017 against the Chicago White Sox.

Kansas City shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. is off to a 6-for-11 batting start with three doubles, a triple and a homer. He has a 1.888 OPS, which gives him the early AL lead, with Boston's Tyler O'Neil next at 1.538 and the Orioles' Gunnar Henderson third at 1.438.

Kansas City's Maikel Garcia leads the Royals with two homers in three games, after hitting just four in his previous 132 career games. Witt has seen five of his six hits go for extra bases. He is batting .545 and has a 1.273 slugging percentage. Nelson Velázquez has hit 15 homers in 42 games since making his Royals debut last Aug. 10.

Right-hander Michael Wacha (14-4, 3.22 ERA last year with San Diego) gets the start for the Royals. Over the 2022-2023 seasons combined he has gone 25-6 with a 3.27 ERA. In 10 career starts versus the Orioles he is 3-1 with a 5.19 ERA.

Westburg hits walk-off homer in 6-4 win after Moun...
Hyde on Cowser: “I think you’re going to see him i...

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://www.masnsports.com/