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Twelve Orioles Thoughts following series win at Kansas City

With the Orioles winning the final two games to take the series victory at Kansas City and improve to 14-7, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. Winning the series after an ugly Friday loss appeared daunting, but Saturday’s seven-run second inning and Sunday’s strong all-around performance did the job. The Royals still have some roster holes, but they’re much improved from last year’s 106 losses and gave Baltimore all it could handle over six games.

2. That was the Cole Irvin that Mike Elias envisioned when he acquired the lefty two offseasons ago. He’s not going to miss many bats, but Irvin pitched to contact effectively and gave the Orioles length after neither Corbin Burnes nor Dean Kremer finished the sixth inning the two previous nights. 

3. Though the bullpen bounced back to finish Sunday’s shutout, that group isn’t inspiring a ton of confidence right now after allowing 10 earned runs over 5 2/3 innings on Friday and Saturday. Craig Kimbrel has been excellent, but even Yennier Cano and Danny Coulombe have been shaky recently. 

4. After being shut down by Alec Marsh — who’s been mediocre against the rest of baseball thus far in his young career — for the second time in 2 1/2 weeks on Friday, the Orioles knocked out Royals ace Cole Ragans in the second inning of Saturday’s win. Baseball is weird. 

5. Colton Cowser hit his fifth homer and walked to lift his OPS to 1.195. Jordan Westburg owns a 1.031 OPS after his fifth homer, a triple, and a run-scoring walk. These guys batted seventh and eighth in Sunday’s order. The growth they’re showing from last season couldn’t be more exciting. 


6. Cowser, Westburg, and Gunnar Henderson each hit a ball 109.1 mph or harder in Sunday’s third inning alone. I’d say they were barreling up Royals starter Seth Lugo, who entered Sunday’s contest with a 1.05 ERA over his first four starts.

7. Anthony Santander began heating up against Minnesota last week and continued with four doubles and a triple in Kansas City. However, his diving catch in the bottom of the ninth on Saturday was his biggest play of the weekend. The bullpen was flirting with disaster at that point.  

8. There’s little sugarcoating a 1-for-30 start, but Jackson Holliday made hard contact lining out in the fifth and walked in the ninth Sunday. The 20-year-old can’t continue striking out in half of his plate appearances for much longer, but I’m still starting him if his confidence is holding up OK. 

9. While the Orioles lead the majors in home runs and concluded Sunday with seven regulars sporting a slugging percentage of .481 or higher, Adley Rutschman hasn’t hit for much power even after clubbing his first career grand slam on Friday night. Just wait until he starts driving the ball more. 

10. After a couple unsuccessful challenges over the weekend, it’s apparent that the replay system continues to have an extremely high threshold to reverse the call on the field. I’m fine with that, but let’s speed up the overall review process then. 

11. Kyle Bradish didn’t fare nearly as well statistically in his second rehab start, but he lifted his pitch count to 64 and appeared to hold his velocity pretty well until his final inning. Of course, how he feels after these outings is what’s most important for now. 

12. The reaction to Cowser mistakenly tossing the final out for Kimbrel’s 422nd career save — tying Billy Wagner for seventh in major league history — into the fountain at Kauffman Stadium on Saturday night speaks to how close this Orioles clubhouse is. Funny stuff. 

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