Twelve Orioles Thoughts following 4-3 comeback win over Kansas City

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With the Orioles edging Kansas City in a 4-3 comeback victory to conclude the first homestand of the 2024 season on Wednesday evening, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. After a five-hour rain delay and just one hit over seven innings, the Orioles bats finally came alive in the final two frames with James McCann completing the comeback with the fourth walk-off plate appearance of his career. That would have been a deflating loss after waiting around all day. 

2. The Orioles scored 24 runs over their first two games and managed just 12 runs over the last four contests. They needed two walk-off victories against the Royals to do it, but you’ll take a 4-2 homestand to start the season when you’re not firing on all cylinders.  

3. McCann’s heroics overshadowed an impressive performance from Royals lefty Cole Ragans, who allowed one hit and struck out seven over 6 1/3 innings. You’ll be hearing more and more about him with that outstanding changeup and mid-90s fastball. Kansas City acquired him in the Aroldis Chapman trade last season. 

4. Far from his best, Corbin Burnes was still able to grind through 5 2/3 innings and allowed two runs while scattering nine hits. Kansas City prioritized solid contact throughout the series and squared up one of the best pitchers in baseball more than you’d expect.

5. The cutter was there with nine swinging strikes, but it was evident that Burnes didn’t have a great feel for the rest of his repertoire unlike Opening Day when everything was clicking. After striking out Maikel Garcia and Hunter Renfroe in the first inning, Burnes recorded only one more strikeout. 

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6. After losing 203 games over the last two seasons, the Royals look like they could surprise some people in 2024, especially playing in the underwhelming AL Central. Bobby Witt Jr. is a star, the starting pitching looks solid, and the speed is evident with seven stolen bases in the series. 

7. Salvador Perez drove in two of Kansas City’s three runs on Wednesday and was 6-for-12 with a home run in the series. Nearing his 34th birthday, the eight-time All-Star catcher remains a heck of a player. 

8. Credit Brandon Hyde for trying to get everyone involved in the opening homestand, but seeing Jorge Mateo in center field, Ryan O’Hearn in right, and Tony Kemp at second base this series doesn’t say much for the bench, especially considering the offensive numbers we’re seeing at Triple-A Norfolk right now. 

9. Ramon Urias is 0-for-13 to open the season and hasn’t produced much solid contact either. It’s very early, of course, but he’s also coming off a .676 on-base plus slugging percentage over the second half of 2023. That first-pitch weak fly to right in the eighth wasn’t pretty. 

10. For the second straight night, the back end of the bullpen gave the Orioles a chance to mount a comeback with Danny Coulombe and Yennier Cano combining for 2 1/3 scoreless frames. That’s the kind of game where the deficit can easily get away from you late.

11. Ryan Mountcastle drew the walk that started the ninth-inning rally and earned another free pass on a quality at-bat in the seventh. Tied for the club lead with four walks, Mountcastle looks comfortable at the plate and has played really good defense at first base. 

12. The Orioles allowed for reentry and open seating after the delay and wisely offered anyone with tickets a complimentary voucher for another weekday game, but subjecting fans to a five-hour rain delay with little communication along the way wasn’t a good look. Challenging circumstances, but some foresight would have helped. 

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