KANSAS CITY -- Jeremy Guthrie's second full season with the Royals has not begun swimmingly.
Guthrie's 4.80 ERA is the highest among the active starters in a Kansas City rotation that ranks third in the American League in ERA.
On Friday, Guthrie has an opportunity to take a step toward reversing this trend against his former team, the Orioles.
After logging more than 150 starts for Baltimore from 2007-11, Guthrie now serves as a thorn in the Orioles' side.
Since joining the Royals, Guthrie holds a 1.89 ERA with a pair of wins in three starts against Baltimore.
"It's always enjoyable to compete against friends and former teammates," Guthrie said, before conceding that the enjoyment wears off when the game begins. "At the end of the day, once you throw a pitch, it's more or less the same as any start."
In one of his best starts of this season, Guthrie limited the Orioles to two runs over seven innings at Camden Yards on April 26.
Guthrie's high ERA stems from his issues with the long ball. The 11-year veteran leads the Majors in home runs allowed with 11.
Orioles: Bullpen solidifies
Baltimore entered the series on a four-game losing streak that partially stemmed from a lack of success in both scoring and preventing runs during the final four innings.
The offense did not fix the scoring aspect in a 2-1 series-opening win, as it was shut out from innings five through nine. But the bullpen came through in a huge way, picking up left-hander Wei-Yin Chen after 5 1/3 innings.
Relievers Darren O'Day, Troy Patton, Ryan Webb and Zach Britton retired all 11 Royals they faced. O'Day inherited a particularly sticky situation, with two on and one out in the sixth inning. But he retired Danny Valencia on a strikeout and Johnny Giavotella on a flyout to end the scoring threat. Britton pitched the ninth in place of closer Tommy Hunter, who had blown two saves in a row.
Royals: Moustakas set to rejoin lineup
With a lefty on the mound for Baltimore on Thursday, Mike Moustakas observed Kansas City's series-opening loss from the bench.
Manager Ned Yost said he will reinstall Moustakas to the lineup on Friday vs. right-hander Chris Tillman.
Moustakas hopes to pick up where he left off Wednesday, when he clubbed a three-run double in the second inning of Kansas City's 3-2 win over the Rockies.
Yost contemplated sticking with Moustakas but opted for Danny Valencia at third.
"He could have reasonably played [Thursday]. I mean, Chen's numbers against left-handers -- left-handers are hitting .435 against him. But I've got to keep Danny involved."
• Orioles slugger Chris Davis is 1-for-16 lifetime against Guthrie with six strikeouts. The one hit was a home run.
• Baltimore snapped a five-game losing streak against the AL Central on Thursday. The Orioles are 4-9 this season against the division.
Jackson Alexander is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.