O’s game blog: Mike Wright on the mound in K.C. series opener

The Orioles host the defending World Series champion Kansas City Royals tonight as a 10-game homestand continues at Camden Yards. The Orioles went 2-2 versus Boston and 2-1 versus New York to start the homestand.

At 32-23, the Orioles are once again tied for first in the American League East with Boston, although ahead by a few win percentage points at .582 to .579. Toronto, which will host the Orioles for three games starting Thursday, is 2 ½ games back.

Kansas City went into a four-game series in Cleveland last Thursday with a six-game win streak, but the Royals lost all four games at Cleveland as the Indians won 7-0 on Sunday to complete the sweep by a combined 25-6 score. K.C. was outhomered 9-1 in the set and this is the first time the Royals have been swept in a four-game series since September of 2012 at Detroit.

Kansas City had won 10 of 12 games before that series and they left Cleveland with a 30-26 record and in second place, 1 ½ games behind the Indians. The Royals scored just two runs in the last three games of that series and K.C. has an 11-19 road record.

The Orioles are 21-11 at home and are 7-1-2 in 10 home series at OPACY.

Right-hander Mike Wright, who was briefly optioned to Triple-A after his last start, quickly returned to the roster and tonight returns to the rotation. Wright is 2-3 with a 5.88 ERA in 10 games, nine starts.

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He is going to need much better results that in his last start. On Wednesday versus Boston, he lasted just 2 2/3 innings and gave up four homers, six runs and seven hits. Over his last five starts, Wright is 1-1 with a 6.57 ERA. Despite his high ERA, the Orioles are 6-3 in Wright’s nine starts this season and are 9-9 in his 18 career starts.

Lefty-hander Danny Duffy (1-0, 3.44 ERA) gets the starts for Kansas City. He has made 20 apperances this year and four as a starter. His last four games have come as a starter and Duffy is 1-0 with a 3.86 ERA. Over his last two starts he has given up eight runs in 11 2/3 innings.

In six career games (four starts) against Baltimore, he 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA. This year he pitched one scoreless inning against the Orioles on April 24 at Kauffman Stadium.

Minor league award winners: The Orioles player development department has named Single-A Frederick infielder Aderlin Rodriguez the organization’s Player of the Month for May and Frederick pitcher Matthew Grimes the Pitcher of the Month.

Grimes, 24, went 5-1 with a 1.12 ERA over six May starts. He pitched 40 1/3 innings during the month and the right-hander allowed only five earned runs on 28 hits to go with six walks and 20 strikeouts. I wrote this profile here earlier today on Grimes, an 18th-round draft pick in 2014 out of Georgia Tech.

Rodriguez, 24, batted .333 with five home runs and 18 RBIs to go with a triple, seven doubles and 11 RBIs in May. He led all Carolina League players in slugging (.583) while he tied for the league lead in home runs and total bases (56) and was second in hitting and OPS (.968). For the season, Rodriguez is batting .282 in 52 games with 10 home runs and 37 RBIs.

Double-A Bowie left-hander Jayson Aquino today was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for the period of May 30-June 5 after he recorded two consecutive scoreless outings. Over those games he pitched 15 innings, going 2-0 with 15 strikeouts including a complete-game seven-inning shutout in a doubleheader.

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