Royals look to capture third straight series win for first time in ’18
The Kansas City Royals have a chance Saturday to lock up a third consecutive series for the first time this season.
Kansas City (43-91) is playing another team struggling as much as it is, the Baltimore Orioles. The Royals posted a 9-2 victory in the opener of a three-game series Friday night at home.
That win stopped the Orioles (40-95) from tying a season high for consecutive victories (four).
They’ll meet again Saturday at Kauffman Stadium when Dylan Bundy (7-13, 5.37 ERA) starts for the Orioles against Heath Fillmyer (2-1, 4.21) in a battle of right-handers.
The Royals’ recent streak started when they took two of three from Cleveland last weekend and swept a two-game set from Detroit after that. Now, Kansas City has won six of its last seven games, the team’s best stretch this season.
Power helped the Royals in Friday’s win. They belted out three home runs in the victory, including one from Cam Gallagher, who had just been called up earlier in the day. That was his first home run this season and the second of his brief major league career.
Home runs have been a problem for Bundy recently and all season. Bundy has given up the most home runs in the majors this year (34) and allowed eight in July and eight in August.
He has a combined record of 1-6 in the past two months after going 3-0 in June.
Bundy has left the ball too close to the plate too many times and is working on correcting that issue. When the right-hander’s pitches stay on the corner, he finds much more success.
“It’s frustrating for Dylan because he doesn’t want to be giving up anything,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the media earlier this season. “I’ve talked to him about it.”
Bundy has a 1-1 career record with a 5.87 ERA against Kansas City.
For the Royals, Fillmyer is a rookie who will be making his ninth career start — and 13th appearance in the major leagues. He never has faced the Orioles.
Both teams made some moves before the game. The Royals acquired pitcher Jerry Vasto from the Colorado Rockies in exchange for catcher Drew Butera, a popular player who was with the team during its World Series run three years ago.
Butera was a backup catcher, and it was clear the Royals were sad about losing him.
“He was perfect for this team and knowing his role,” Royals manager Ned Yost told the media Friday. “He was always ready to play when he was called upon. He was just the perfect backup catcher, especially for our situation.”
Kansas City also recalled Gallagher from Triple-A Omaha and returned outfielder Brian Goodwin from his rehab assignment and reinstated him from the disabled list.
Baltimore recalled outfielder Joey Rickard from Triple-A Norfolk and reinstated pitcher Jhan Marinez from the disabled list (right hamstring strain). After clearing waivers, the Orioles assigned him to Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles also designated outfielder Craig Gentry for assignment.