Kansas City Royals (23-52) at Houston Astros (50-27)
When and Where: Sunday, June 24, Houston, Texas, 2:10 P.M. EST
The Kansas City Royals will play their final game in Houston this Sunday afternoon in an American League matchup. The Royals are trying to keep from having the worst record in baseball with only one more win than the Orioles but they have lost nine of their last 10. The Astros are trying to pick up the best record in the MLB and are currently in first place in the AL West as one of three teams with 50 wins. They are 3.5 games ahead of the second place Mariners.
Kansas City falls among the worst in baseball
The Kansas City Royals are at the bottom of the worst division in baseball in the AL Central and they have only gotten worse in recent weeks, picking up one win in their last 10 games. Their offense is especially poor with just four players driving in more than 20 runs. Mike Moustakas however, is having a great season that is going to waste. He leads the Royals in pretty much every offensive category with 14 home runs and 48 RBI. Aside from Moustakas, catcher, Salvador Perez is really the only productive hitter with 11 home runs and 32 RBI in 55 games.
The Royals will give the ball to Jason Hammel to start Sunday’s game in Houston. He is 2-8 so far this season with a 4.88 ERA. Hammel has not yet picked up a win in June thanks to a lack of runs support. He holds a 4.32 ERA this month which has been an improvement on the rest of the season. The Royals recently traded Kelvin Herrera to the Washington Nationals, losing their closer and their best arm in the bullpen. This leaves Kansas City with even fewer options to back up Hammel. It looks as though the Royals have given up on winning this season and wanted to dump and expiring contract.
Houston creeps into the MLB’s elite
The Houston Astros are going down a complete opposite path compared to the Royals. They have won eight of their last 10 games and are competing with the Red Sox and Yankees for the best record in the majors. They now have a comfortable lead in the AL West with a 3.5 game advantage over the Seattle Mariners. Jose Altuve is having another outstanding year, hitting .346 on the season with 39 RBI and 49 runs scored. Catcher, Evan Gattis has really broken out to lead the team with 14 home runs and 47 RBI in just 66 games. Seven home runs and 23 RBI have come in June.
Gerrit Cole is scheduled to make the home start for Houston to close out this series. Like most of the Houston rotation, he has been excellent this season. Cole holds a 8-1 record and 2.59 ERA. Cole has not lost since April and has racked up 138 strikeouts in 100.2 innings so far in 2018. In the bullpen, the Astros often look to Chris Devenski who has shown up in 31 games, posting a 1.52 ERA. Hector Rondon has been great as well, compiling a 1.61 ERA over the same amount of games.
- 5-21 in last 26 vs. AL West
- 8-20 in last 28 games vs. right-handed starters
- 13-2 in Cole’s last 15 starts
- 10-4 in last 14 games vs. AL Central
This one seems pretty simple. One of the worst teams in baseball is playing one of the best teams in baseball who will start one of the best pitchers in the world. The Astros are as hot as it gets lately and the Royals are moving in the complete opposite direction. This Kansas City team has traded their closer, essentially calling it quits and they do not have the fire needed to get a win off Cole.