Baltimore Orioles vs. Kansas City Royals Pregame Notes
Apr 8, 2014; Bronx, NY, USA; Baltimore Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis (21) hits a sacrifice fly in the fourth inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
The Baltimore Orioles, coming off last night’s exciting 10-inning victory over the Kansas City Royals, will look to win their second consecutive three-game series as they take the field today at 1:35 p.m. at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Here are a few notes, thoughts, and things to look for related to today’s game.
First thing is first
Nick Markakis played a great first base last night, and is likely to be tapped more often than not throughout the next two weeks to fill-in for an ailing Chris Davis. Davis’ absence hurts the Orioles in a number of ways. Davis was second on the team in OBP and runs scored, getting on at a .372 clip, and gave the Orioles a legitimate left-handed power threat in the middle of the lineup. Without Davis, Markakis will not only be responsible for fielding Davis’ position, he will also have to replicate Davis’ run production as he drops in the batting order.
Jemile Weeks, acquired from Oakland for former Orioles closer Jim Johnson during the offseason, played his first major-league game of the season last night and proved that he can belong. Weeks was two-for-four last night, hitting a triple and a bunt single, and displaying his elite speed on the basepaths. If Weeks continues to perform at the plate, he could further complicate the Orioles’ situation in the middle infield. The Orioles already have as many of four players on the roster who have seen time at second base this year, and one of them figures to be sent to the minors when Manny Machado returns — likely in early May.
Gonzalez looks to pitch into the seventh
Miguel Gonzalez is 1-0 with a 2.70 ERA in his last three starts, but has failed to pitch into the seventh inning in any start so far this year. With the Orioles using Evan Meek, Brian Matusz, Darren O’Day, Tommy Hunter, and Zach Britton to get through last night’s extra inning battle, back-to-back appearances by any of the aforementioned players could take them out of commission for the first one or two games of the next series against the Pittsburgh Pirates. A good outing by Gonzalez could help save the bullpen for the future and give the Orioles a good chance to take the series today.