KANSAS CITY - After Friday’s 9-2 loss at Kansas City, the Orioles will try to break a five-game road losing streak tonight when the clubs meet in the second game of the series against the Royals at Kauffman Stadium.
Right-hander Dylan Bundy (7-13, 5.37 ERA) will make his 26th start. After struggling for most of the last two months, Bundy felt he made some progress Sunday night at home versus the Yankees. He went five innings, allowing six hits and four runs on 100 pitches.
“I thought it was a tiny bit better,” he said after that game. “Definitely a step in the right direction. You know, still two pitches there that pretty much cost me the four runs. Executed more pitches this time than I have in the past. I think that is what it always comes down to. Executing that one pitch in each situation to get weak contact or if it’s a strikeout, it’s a strikeout. But I was able to execute a little bit more with the fastball tonight.”
Bundy has an 11.64 ERA over his past four starts. Since July 6 he is 1-6 with an 8.87 ERA over nine starts. In that span he’s allowed 65 hits and 16 homers in 44 2/3 innings. Bundy’s last win was July 29 versus Tampa Bay, and his last quality start was Aug. 4 at Texas.
Bundy has allowed 14 homers his last seven starts and leads the majors, allowing 34 on the season. That is five more than any other pitcher. Bartolo Colon of Texas has allowed 29. The O’s team record is 35.
Kansas City right-hander Heath Fillmyer (2-1, 4.21 ERA) will make the start for the Royals. On Saturday versus Cleveland he gave up one run and three hits over six innings. But in his previous two starts he permitted 10 runs over eight innings. While he has a 6.98 ERA on the road, he is 2-1 with a 2.53 ERA and .200 average against in six home games. Over 32 innings he has allowed just one home run.
Kansas City (43-91) is 3 1/2 games ahead of the Orioles (40-95) in the “race” for the worst record in Major League Baseball. Or maybe the Orioles are leading such a race, depending upon how you look at those standings. The Royals have won five of their last six, scoring 41 runs. The Orioles have lost nine of 12 and 16 of 21 games. And Baltimore is 2-11 in its past 13 games at Kauffman Stadium.
The Royals, who are 2-3 versus the Orioles for the season, are 12-10 at home since the All-Star break. K.C. needs to finish 8-5 in its last 13 to avoid matching the most home losses in club history (29-51 in 1998).
The Orioles finished the month 8-20 (.286) to mark the second-worst August in Orioles history, trailing only the 1954 team (7-25) which was in its first year in Baltimore.
Outfielder Cedric Mullins went 2-for-4 Friday and hit his first career leadoff home run.. It was the fourth leadoff blast by an O’s hitter this year. Since making his MLB debut on Aug. 10, he is batting .317 (20-for-63) and nine of his 20 hits are extra-base hits. Since making his debut, Mullins’ .317 batting average ranks third among AL rookies and fifth in the majors among rookies and his six doubles since Aug. 10 are tied for second in the majors among rookies.