Twelve Orioles Thoughts following 4-1 loss to Kansas City

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With the Orioles mounting little offense in a 4-1 defeat to the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. On a miserable night for baseball, the Orioles made some hard contact, but they didn’t put much pressure on Royals starter Alec Marsh, who kept hitters off-balance with a five-pitch mix. It didn’t say much for the overall approach when Marsh needed just 76 pitches to complete seven innings.

2. Cole Irvin thought his stuff was decent enough overall, but he lamented poor location on a 1-2 fastball to Nick Loftin and the 0-2 cutter to Maikel Garcia that led to three runs in the top of the third inning. That was all Kansas City needed. 

3. Irvin did a good job against star shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. with two strikeouts, but there was too much firm contact from the rest of the Royals lineup. And after Orioles starting pitching entered the night having walked just two batters, both of Irvin’s free passes eventually scored.

4. The first turn through the starting rotation was about what you’d expect with Corbin Burnes and Grayson Rodriguez excelling, Tyler Wells and Dean Kremer offering acceptable performances, and Irvin leaving something to be desired. That sounds like a rotation missing a couple key pieces in Kyle Bradish and John Means.  

5. Making his first start of 2024, Colton Cowser accounted for two of Baltimore’s three hits with a soft double inside the third-base bag to plate the lone Orioles run and a hard opposite-field single. He also played good defense in the spacious Camden Yards left field. 

6. Ryan O’Hearn provides the versatility to man a corner outfield spot on occasion, but Garcia’s RBI triple in the fourth illustrated why that’s not a desirable option. That wasn’t an easy play, but a good right fielder runs that ball down.  

7. Dillon Tate showed some encouraging swing-and-miss ability with his sweeper to strike out two batters before allowing a single and a walk in a scoreless sixth inning. His sinker velocity hasn’t been great in his first major league appearances since 2022, but Tuesday was a positive step. 

8. Credit the bullpen for giving the Orioles every opportunity to mount a late-inning comeback as Tate, Jacob Webb, and former Royal Jonathan Heasley combined to toss four scoreless innings with six strikeouts. You don’t want to burn too many relievers in a game like that. 

9. Veteran second baseman Tony Kemp made his first start of the season and went 0-for-3. Meanwhile, Jackson Holliday hit another leadoff home run for Triple-A Norfolk, but I suppose it’s fair to note Holliday struck out three times as well. Heston Kjerstad also homered twice for the Tides. 

10. Tuesday was a reminder of the difficulties a right-handed batter faces at Camden Yards as Adley Rutschman and Royals right fielder Hunter Renfroe both hit impressive shots to left field that would have been home runs in the 29 other ballparks, per Statcast. Instead, they were long outs. 

11. The announced attendance for Tuesday’s game was 9,404 with far fewer fans than that in the stands. If you braved the bone-chilling mist and low temperature to watch the Orioles offense flounder, no one should question your dedication. 

12. The baseball world mourned the loss of former Orioles president Larry Lucchino, whose work was truly instrumental in securing the club’s future in Baltimore with the vision and oversight in the construction of Oriole Park at Camden Yards. What an impressive baseball legacy he leaves behind.  

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