Opposites collide as the red-hot Astros head to Kansas City
Don’t look now but the World Series champs are getting hot. Riding an eight-game winning streak, seven of which came on the road, the Astros continue their road trip as they head to Kansas City.
The Royals are the exact opposite of the Astros–having lost nine of 10 and stuck in last place in the American League Central. Only the Baltimore Orioles have a worse record than the Royals (22-46). And nobody has a worse home record than the Royals, who have lost 23 of 33 at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City manager Ned Yost is trying to keep the spirits of the players uplifted during trying times.
“It’s easier when you’ve got guys where winning and competitiveness is ingrained in their character,” Yost said. “You just don’t take a loser and make him a winner. Our scouting department, our player development people have drafted winners, and when things are going rough they continue to battle, they continue to fight, they continue to compete.”
“It’s been fun to watch our veteran guys to continue to push and support and compete their tail off every single day,” Yost said. “Dayton (Moore, general manager) says draft winners. Get the most talented kids, but draft winners. That’s number one.
“We want kids that compete, love to play. We want guys that long to get better and understand the process of getting better. That’s what we look for. These kids, 95 out of 100, have that ingrained character trait or else they probably wouldn’t be here.”
The Bear leading the way
Evan Gattis has come alive after a rough April. He set a franchise record in the last series against the Athletics with 10 RBI in two games (back-to-back five RBI games).
Since May 12th, no player has more RBI than Gattis in the major leagues (34).
His resurgence has coincided with the Astros offensive resurgence and is the undervalued member of this ball club.
The Astros will start right-hander Charlie Morton, who is 7-1 with a 2.82 ERA, in the opener. He will try to become the fourth Houston starter with at least eight victories.
He will look to bounce-back after a couple rough starts.
Morton is coming off one of the strangest no-decision lines. In his previous start against the Texas Rangers, Morton walked six and hit four batters in 3 2/3 innings but allowed only two runs (one earned).
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 6.17 ERA in two starts against Kansas City.
Jakob Junis will start for the Royals. He is 5-6 with a 4.05 ERA in 13 starts. No other Kansas City starter has more than three wins. Junis has lost his last three decisions. All five of his wins have come after a Royals loss.
This will be his second career start against Houston. He got a no-decision against the Astros on June 6, 2017, although he allowed seven runs (three unearned) in 3 2/3 innings.
He is 3-4 with a 4.19 ERA in seven home starts this season.
Junis has arguably been the Royals best starter this season, but with the red-hot Astros lineup in town it’s hard to bet against the best road team in the majors. The Royals being the worst home team isn’t helping their case.
Astros 8 Royals 3