Orioles and Royals lineups for series opener in Kansas City

The Orioles will try to improve to 10-0 in series openers tonight when they visit the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.

Manager Brandon Hyde is keeping Austin Hays in the leadoff spot against a left-hander, with Cedric Mullins lowered to ninth.

Jorge Mateo is batting fifth again. James McCann is the designated hitter. Gunnar Henderson is the third baseman.

Mullins has a .458 average with runners in scoring position that ranks seventh in the majors among batters with a minimum 15 plate appearances.

Mateo is trying to become the first Oriole to score a run in eight straight games since Mullins in 2021, according to STATS. Mateo’s 21 runs this season are the most through the first 23 games since Trey Mancini scored 22 in 2019.

Tyler Wells has posted a 2.79 ERA and 0.724 WHIP, lowest in the majors, in five games (four starts). He’s walked only three batters in 29 innings.

Wells is 2-0 with a 2.51 ERA and 0.907 WHIP in five career games (two starts) against the Royals. He’s allowed three runs in seven innings in two appearances at Kauffman Stadium.

The Orioles have a plus-19 run differential in the seventh through ninth innings, third-highest in the majors, per STATS. The Royals’ run differential during that stretch is minus-three.

The Orioles’ 2.86 bullpen ERA is the lowest in the majors, including a 1.68 mark over the last 13 games, but the rotation’s 5.28 ERA ranks 24th.

Left-hander Ryan Yarbrough is 0-3 with a 6.35 ERA and 1.353 WHIP in eight games (one start) with the Royals, who signed him as a free agent in December after he spent five seasons with the Rays. Yarbrough has allowed 12 runs and 19 hits, with four walks, seven strikeouts and five hit batters in 17 innings.

The one start came in Yarbrough’s most recent appearance, when he held the Diamondbacks to one run in four innings. He allowed two runs in four innings coming out of the bullpen in Anaheim before moving into the rotation. His highest pitch count is 77.

The Orioles know him well. Yarbrough made 16 appearances against them with Tampa Bay, including nine starts, and registered a 3.72 ERA and 1.158 WHIP in 84 2/3 innings.

Anthony Santander is 6-for-22 with four doubles and seven strikeouts against Yarbrough, and Ramón Urías is 4-for-15 with two doubles.

Hays is 4-for-21 with a home run. Ryan Mountcastle is 4-for-20 with a double and six strikeouts. Mateo is 2-for-9 with a triple.

Edward Olivares is slashing .361/.425/.639 with seven extra-base hits and eight runs scored
during a nine-game hitting streak that ties the longest of his career.

The Royals are 7-22 overall and 1-12 at home. They’ve lost 13 of their last 16 games.

They’re trying to avoid becoming the fourth team in major league history to go 1-13 or worse at home, joining the 1913 Yankees (0-14), 2016 Braves (1-13) and 1883 Philadelphia Quakers (1-13), according to STATS. Their current mark is the worst in the majors since they also went 1-12 in 2018.

Kansas City’s 96 runs scored are the second fewest in the majors behind the Tigers’ 88. The .624 OPS is last.

The .279 on-base percentage also is last, and the Royals have never finished at the bottom in franchise history.

Their 5.49 ERA ranks 28th. It isn’t just the hitting that’s holding them back.

The Orioles are 283-224 (.558) all-time against the Royals, their third-best record against any opponent. They’re 408-280 (.593) versus the Rangers and 230-171 (.574) versus the Mariners.

For the Orioles
Austin Hays LF
Adley Rutschman C
Ryan Mountcastle 1B
Anthony Santander RF
Jorge Mateo SS
James McCann DH
Gunnar Henderson 3B
Ramón Urías 2B
Cedric Mullins CF

Tyler Wells RHP

For the Royals
Bobby Witt Jr. SS
Vinnie Pasquantino DH
Salvador Pérez C
MJ Melendez RF
Edward Olivares LF
Nick Pratto 1B
Michael Massey 2B
Maikel Garcia 3B
Kyle Isbel CF

Ryan Yarbrough LHP

Steve Melewski is handling game coverage in Kansas City. I’ll meet the team in Atlanta.

Mychal Givens tossed another scoreless inning today with a strikeout on his injury rehab assignment with Double-A Bowie. Dillon Tate followed and allowed two runs and three hits with a strikeout in 1 1/3.

Erie catcher Dillon Dingler hit a solo home run.

Givens threw nine pitches, six for strikes. Tate threw 24, 16 for strikes.

Chayce McDermott struck out seven batters in four innings but also allowed three runs. Heston Kjerstad started in right field and went 1-for-5 with a triple.

Single-A Delmarva’s Stiven Acevedo went 3-for-4 today with two home runs, four RBIs, three runs scored and a stolen base. Juan Nunez allowed one earned run and three total with two hits in four innings. He struck out five.

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