Hallelujah, Orioles baseball is back! After an extremely exciting All-Star period for Oriole fans, our team returns to work to take on the Kansas City Royals.
It doesn’t seem too long ago when these two teams shared a slight rivalry for bragging rights atop the A.L., but now it is more so a battle of two rebuilding squads. Pat Mahomes now owns part of the Royals, so maybe that’s a rivalry in itself.
Luckily for the Orioles, and the Royals as well, the return from the break means a well rested and refreshed squad. Keegan Akin is set to kick off the second half of the season, with to be determined starters in games two and three.
Unfortunately for Jorge López, being placed on the bereavement list means he is scratched from his start in this series. No one has been called up yet, although some sources believe Alex Wells may be getting the call.
The Orioles will face a properly matched opponent in the Royals, so this should be an exciting series. Oriole fans aren’t too fond of Kauffman Stadium and the memories it carries; however, this series provides a nice chance to right those wrongs.
These steps are how the O’s can wipe away those bad memories!
Keys to the Series 🔑
1. Bullpen should perform well after the rest, and they need to.
As we have said all season, the bullpen is a huge piece in the Orioles’ success. Because of the break, the bullpen should be well rested, after being abused during the month of June and part of July. With Keegan Akin starting this series, and more than likely two more arms who won’t be able to go very long, the bullpen needs to step up. Tyler Wells should be able to deliver multiple innings in this series, especially as he looks to bounce back from his two-run losing effort in the last game before the break. Tanner Scott and Adam Plutko both will be looked towards in this series, and hopefully that combo can eat up some innings.
2. Cedric and crew needs to pick up where they left off.
In the first half, Cedric Mullins was a story to be told. The current MLB hits leader finished the first half on pace for over 200 this season, and his success continuing in this series would be no surprise. After Mullins, a few bats like Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle, and Trey Mancini were swinging well before the break. That is the core of the lineup, and a lot of this series rests on whether or not those bats can stay hot as they return to action. Especially for Mancini, it will be key to get back into the real game zone, after shocking the world in his Home Run Derby appearance.
3. Don’t beat ourselves.
Of the 61 losses the Orioles have suffered this season, a good 20 of them have come from games that the O’s simply just played themselves out of. A lot of these games have also come against very good opponents and resulted in losses that didn’t need to happen. Against a team like the Royals, playing ourselves out of the game would be a tragedy. Beyond starter Danny Duffy, the Royals won’t throw anyone that the offense can’t handle. Committing errors and not playing intelligently, however, will put the offense in a position where it’s hard to win, regardless of the man on the mound. Coming out lackluster and rusty after the break could potentially lose this series before it gets started. This key also applies to the Orioles’ inflated walk rate as of recently; allowing extra base runners against a good base running team will put the Birds in a hole.
The Orioles kick off the second half of this season Friday night at 8:10 p.m. ET. You can catch each game on MASN or on the Orioles’ flagship radio station, 105.7 The Fan. Also, you can catch game one of this series as MLB.TV‘s free game of the day if you are outside of the MASN market!
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