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 Gregory Shamus/Getty Images) /

Andrew Cashner, RHP

Cashner didn’t exactly burst out of the gate in his last start, surrendering back-to-back home runs in the first inning to fall behind 4-1. His 4.89 ERA is a far cry from what the Orioles thought they’d be getting when they signed him to anchor the middle of the rotation this past offseason.

But after the rocky beginning to his night, the Texan actually settled down quite nicely, giving up just three more hits over 3.2 scoreless innings. It wasn’t anything earth-shattering, but he did average his highest fastball velocity of the season, providing a small reason for optimism ahead of his Wednesday start against the Royals.

The 31-year-old righty had to have been desperate for a good omen. When the Orioles agreed to pay him a guaranteed $16 million through next season, they thought they were paying for last season’s 4.3-WAR pitcher, not this year’s sub-replacement level model. If Cashner doesn’t turn it around soon, Birds fans will start to call for his head on a platter.

That said, he’s still capable of throwing some handsome pitches when his stuff is working. Check out this sweet changeup:

The Royals have one of the worst offenses in the league, making this week’s series an ideal chance for Cashner to resurrect his season. He won’t be around for the Orioles’ next championship, but a strong run through May would do wonders for his trade stock.