Paulino spent the first month of the season on the disabled list with a right forearm strain, but since returning, the right-hander has been a dominant pitcher for a Kansas City team in need of consistent starting pitching.
Paulino gets the ball against the Orioles in the second of a three-game set on Saturday at Camden Yards. Lefty Wei-Yin Chen gets the call for the O's.
The key Saturday might be the fact that Paulino has already faced the Orioles this season. He shut them down on May 16 in Kansas City, his best outing of the season. Paulino threw seven shutout innings, allowing just five hits and striking out nine. The Orioles struck against the Royals' bullpen in the ninth and eventually won in 15 innings, leaving Paulino with a no-decision.
Last time out against the Yankees, Paulino showed he can shut down a team the second time around. He beat the Yankees in his season debut, and on Monday in the Bronx he defeated them again. Paulino is hoping for a similar performance the second time against Baltimore, but he said facing a lineup he's seen before doesn't change the approach.
"I just try to go in with my game plan. Every time I'm facing a team, or whatever team I'm going to face, nothing changes," Paulino said. "I try to go be aggressive, try to attack the hitter. Depending on how the situation goes, I'm changing my mind. That's how I go to the mound every time."
Things are going well for Chen, too, as he's is 4-1 with a 3.35 ERA. The rookie lefty looks to rebound from his first loss of the season last time out against the Nationals, when he surrendered six runs on eight hits in just 4 1/3 innings. It was a season high in both runs and hits allowed, the first time Chen has given up more than three earned runs in a game.
Royals: Escobar streaking
Alcides Escobar is quietly putting together one of the better offensive campaigns among American League shortstops this season. He's batting .316 with 13 doubles to go with seven stolen bases this year.
In his last 15 games, Escobar is hitting .411 with four doubles and five RBIs, scoring eight runs during the stretch.
First baseman Eric Hosmer has been in an unshakable slump this season, hitting just .193, but he did pick up his first three-hit game of the season on Wednesday against the Yankees.
Orioles: Locking up Jones?
Adam Jones may be close to a long and lucrative contract extension with the O's. The deal is expected to be for six years.
Jones has been the Orioles' top player this season, and he's a big reason why the team is in first place in the extremely competitive American League East. Jones is batting .310 with 14 home runs and 31 RBIs. His .947 OPS ranked in the AL's top five entering play on Friday.
There were a couple of roster shakeups on Friday. The Orioles designated Bill Hall for assignment and optioned Luis Exposito to Triple-A Norfolk and recalled pitcher Stu Pomeranz and catcher Ronny Paulino.
Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy is hitting the ball very well off Royals pitching so far this season -- going 6-for-14 with two doubles, two runs scored and five RBIs in the teams' three meetings.