After dropping the finale of a tightly interleague series with the St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City embarks on another road-trip with its first stop at beautiful Camden Yards for a 3-game set against the Orioles:
Tues. May. 24. 6:05 pm CT – Danny Duffy (0-0, 4.50) v. Zach Britton (5-2, 2.14)
Wed. May. 25. 6:05 pm CT – Luke Hochevar (3-4, 4.36) v. Jake Arrieta (5-2, 4.75)
Thurs. May. 26. 12:35 pm CT – Jeff Francis (1-5, 4.23) v. Jeremy Guthrie (2-6, 3.45)
The Royals were able to defeat the O’s in 2 out of 3 games in K.C. at the start of the month, snatching the opener on a Jeff Francoeur walk-off RBI in the bottom of the 10th. They followed that up by earning a series victory with a 9-1 rubber-match romp in which Melky Cabrera went 3-for-4 with a walk, driving in 4 runs.
Lefty Jeff Francis will look to make good on another excellent pitching performance, as he finally broke the ice and cracked the goose-egg that was his 2011 win total by defeating the Cardinals on Friday night.
Speaking of lefties, Tuesday’s opener will feature two rookie southpaws, including one of baseball’s hottest young arms, Zach Britton. Britton has been a pleasant surprise in the Orioles rotation this year, stifling any line-up that has been placed in his path. Duffy will be making just his second major-league start and tested mightily with the challenge of combating such an opposing force.
Another one of Baltimore’s young hurlers will take the hill in this series in tall right-hander Jake Arrieta. No one particular aspect of Arrieta’s repertoire is overly impressive, but he seems to just do everything really well, which has managed to help him rack up 5 wins this year already (the same as Britton).
How confident should Royals fans be in the bullpen? Yes, the promise of 5 talented, hard-working rookies is great, but whose to say they’ll have the durability to last through the entire season? It’s barely 2 months into the schedule and noticeable signs of wearing out are showing. Add that to the concern over Joakim Soria possibly tipping his pitches, and this could be a major area of concern down the stretch if Kansas City hopes to have legitimate playoff aspirations.
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