KANSAS CITY - The Yankees lost again last night to Houston, so the Orioles maintain the best record in the American League East. At 22-12, they lead the division by half-game over New York (21-12).
But all is not well in Birdland. On Wednesday night, the Orioles took a 6-2 lead to the last of the eighth and they lost at Washington. Last night, they went to the eighth at Kauffman Stadium tied at 2-2. But Eric Hosmer’s RBI double off Vidal Nuño gave Kansas City the 3-2 win. In the last two games, the Orioles have gone from 8-1 to 8-3 in one-run decisions.
The Orioles have not had a three-game losing streak all year and they’ll try to win tonight to avoid their first of 2017. The Royals may have an overall terrible record (14-21), but they are 7-5 in May after going 7-16 in April. The Orioles are 2-8 in their last 10 games at Kauffman Stadium. The O’s have started a three-city, seven-game road trip at 0-2.
Right-hander Dylan Bundy has now recorded eight consecutive quality starts. He has thrown 105 or more pitches in his last five starts and threw a career-high 112 pitches last night when he gave up two runs over six innings in a no-decision.
“I looked up and saw like 108 pitches and it didn’t feel like 108,” Bundy said. “That’s a good thing. That means I’m getting stronger, deeper in the games and hopefully I can go more innings next time.”
Bundy’s innings load will become a factor for the Orioles at some point. He pitched 109 2/3 innings last year and right now is on a pace to throw about 225 innings. We’ll see how the club handles that going forward.
One hot bat: Catcher Caleb Joseph had three extra-base hits in one game for the first time in his major league career last night. He went 3-for-3 with two doubles and a triple. In his past four games, Joseph is 9-for-16 with three RBIs to raise his average from .174 to .274.
“He’s been solid,” manager Buck Showalter said. “He’s in a good place offensively right now. He continues to dial up what we need, and that’s been impressive. He’s always been a real good caller of the game, a good catcher. He’s had a track record of hitting. Last year, we thought was a break from the norm. This year, he’s gotten back to what he’s capable of.”
Per usual though, Joseph always feels his biggest job is run prevention over run production. In that regard, the O’s allowed just three runs last night. But as Showalter held out a few relievers to continue to try and freshen them up, Nuño pitched the eighth and took the loss.
The Orioles are playing without closer Zach Britton and their bullpen has given up six runs over 5 1/3 innings in these last two games.
“We’re missing Zach, but we’ve got capable bullpen guys that we’ve been leaning on the last two, three years in there and we’re ready for Zach to heal up,” Joseph said. “But we’ve got guys who can hold the fort down, absolutely. We believe in them. It wasn’t like we got killed. We lost by one run tonight. But things are magnified when you really don’t do anything offensively. I think tonight was a good example of that.”
Raising money for a great cause: Orioles players and uniformed personnel will wear jerseys with pink Orioles script and caps with a pink cartoon bird today and tomorrow against the Royals. They will be autographed and auctioned at www.orioles.com/auctions to benefit the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation.
Proceeds from the auction will again benefit The Breast Cancer Program at the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center, specifically the John Fetting Fund For Breast Cancer Prevention. Last year, the auction raised more than $19,000.
The Orioles will celebrate Mother’s Day on Friday, May 19 and recognize honorary bat girl Amber Shaw when she throws out the ceremonial first pitch before the game that night. Shaw has battled breast cancer twice. Shaw has undergone multiple surgeries and multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Through everything, she maintained a positive outlook and ultimately pursued a new career in mammography to help other breast cancer patients.
Orioles pitcher Kevin Gausman was on the panel that selected Shaw as Orioles’ honorary bat girl. This cause is near and dear to Gausman, who lost his maternal grandmother to breast cancer.