When the Kansas City Royals took a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the eighth inning last night against the Baltimore Orioles, it appeared as if the game was all but over.
Then the meltdown took place.
Between Joel Payamps, Josh Staumont, Jake Brentz and some poor defense from Hunter Dozier and Edward Olivares, the O's struck for nine runs in the eighth. While the Royals were able to bring the score to within one run on Andrew Benintendi's three-run shot, it wasn't quite enough. The crew will look to get back on track tonight.
After winning the opening contest of this four-game slate in Baltimore, the Royals have dropped two in a row. The Orioles are one of the worst teams in baseball so even a 2-2 split is less than ideal, but losing the series outright would be a terrible look for Kansas City. Luckily, they have a decent shot to secure a win on Thursday.
Here's how the Royals will line up in this evening's game.
Kansas City: RHP Carlos Hernandez (5-1, 3.57 ERA)
Baltimore: LHP John Means (5-6, 3.47 ERA)
Kansas City Royals Starting Lineup
- Whit Merrifield (R) - 2B
- Nicky Lopez (L) - SS
- Salvador Perez (R) - C
- Andrew Benintendi (L) - LF
- Carlos Santana (S) - 1B
- Adalberto Mondesi (S) - DH
- Michael A. Taylor (R) - CF
- Hanser Alberto (R) - 3B
- Hunter Dozier (R) - RF
Hernandez continues to impress
Over the course of his last seven outings, Royals pitcher Carlos Hernandez has been fantastic. In 42.1 innings of work, the flame-throwing righty has given up just 29 hits while striking out 31 batters and posting a 1.91 ERA. Hernandez has truly found his groove as of late and is easily the Royals' best starting pitcher right now. He's all but cemented his status as a lock for next year's rotation and with every passing start, the hype surrounding Hernandez only grows more and more. If Kansas City is to escape Baltimore with its second win of the series, it will need another good start from its brightest young star.
Alberto returns to the Royals' lineup
Third baseman Hanser Alberto played a major role in the series-opening win over the Orioles, clobbering just his second home run of 2021. It remains to be seen what the Royals' long-term plan is at the hot corner or whether Alberto fits into it but as the last month of the season continues, he needs to continue taking advantage of the playing time he's given. Adalberto Mondesi is cutting into it a little bit but with him serving as the designated hitter on Thursday, this is a prime opportunity for Alberto to shine both at the plate and in the field.
First Pitch: 6:05 p.m. CST
TV: Bally Sports Kansas City
Radio: 610 Sports Radio