Baltimore Orioles vs Kansas City Royals: 5 players to watch

(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /
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Baltimore Orioles
(Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images) /

The Baltimore Orioles are back home this week, but will a change of scenery be enough to stop the bleeding?

Fresh off a winless California road trip, the Baltimore Orioles are back in town to kick off a seven-game home stand against two mediocre teams, the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays.

With an AL-worst 8-26 record, the Birds are desperate for a win, but fans should know better than to get their hopes up. From 12th-inning walk-offs to boneheaded errors, Baltimore has been relentlessly creative in finding ways to lose this season, and a return to Camden Yards can only do so much.

At least they match up well against the Royals, who they’ll face in the first three games. Kansas City ranks 14th in the American League in both runs per game and ERA, making them nearly as bad as the Birds. Still, with their 4-2 record in the month of May, there’s no question as to which team has more momentum at the moment.

The Birds have gone just 3-21 since April 12, and there’s no end in sight to their struggles. Manny Machado is having a transcendent season, but he can’t do it alone. Kevin Gausman pitched nine shutout innings last week, yet the Orioles lost in extras. Only six weeks into the season, a fire sale already seems inevitable — it’s just a matter of when.

All of that said, a good performance against the Royals would bring some positive vibes back to Eutaw Street. The first pitch of the series is set for Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. ET — until then, here are five players who could tilt the balance of the series.