Jun 29, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals second basemen Omar Infante (14) celebrates with teammate Jarrod Dyson (1) after hitting a walk off single for a 5-4 win against the Los Angeles Angels at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Series Preview: Royals (42-39) v. Twins (37-43)

A long homestand against the Mariners, Dodgers and Angels resulted in a 3-6 record and saw Kansas City go from leading the AL Central to second place. It’s now time for the Royals (42-39) to hit the road against for three at the Twins (37-43) that could help them make up some ground.

Kansas City looks for their first win of 2014 at Target Field against the reeling Twins. Photo Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

Since this is the third series between these clubs it seemed right to chat with Collin Kottke of Puckett’s Pond.

Kings of Kauffman – What can be pinpointed for Minnesota’s current struggles?
Puckett’s Pond –
I wish I knew. I don’t think anyone can really say for sure. There’s been some injury problems, but not enough to be the reason why. The pitching has gone up and down, but been okay recently. The hitting starting off strong and is now struggling. There’s no real good answer for a pinpoint and if someone has one, I’d love to hear it!

KOK – Who do you think we carry the flag as the Twins All-Star rep?
PP –
I hope it’s Phil Hughes. He’s been having a great year and deserves it. Glen Perkins has a strong case to. Brian Dozier should make it, but AL second base is a pretty loaded position so I won’t hold my breath.

KOK – How excited are fans to show off Target Field as host in a few weeks?
PP –
I don’t know if there’s real excitement. I think there was more when the even was announced. The prices of tickets are so out of the realm of possibility of a lot of fans, I think we acknowledge it but it’s just really another day.

KOK – Pitching breakdown for these three games
PP –
Yohan Pino is a 30-year-old rookie getting his first taste of big league action. He’s soft throwing and won’t be in the rotation long.

Ricky Nolasco has not been very good. He’s the highest paid free agent signing in Twins history and sure isn’t pitching like it. He’s struggling and we’re waiting for him to snap out of it. I’m getting worried if that will actually happen.

Kevin Corriea was a bad start away from getting yanked from the rotation, but he’s strung together a nice three or so starts. Corriea is nothing special, but is a good back of the rotation guy ideally.

KOK – Series prediction
PP –
I’d guess that the Royals will take two games from the Twins. The Royals are a good squad and the Twins are… something.

Probably Pitching Match-ups:
Monday, 7:10 pm – Danny Duffy/LHP (4-7, 2.69) v. Yohan Pino/RHP (0-1, 6.30)
Tuesday, 7:10 pm – James Shields/RHP (8-3, 3.79) v. Ricky Nolasco/RHP (4-6, 5.74)
Wednesday, 12:10 pm – Jason Vargas/LHP (7-3, 3.53) v. Kevin Correia/RHP (4-9, 5.08)

Comments on Pitching Match-ups – Another series that looks like it should match-up well given how the pitching falls in line. Duffy/Shields/Vargas against the struggling Twins should be good enough you’d think however Nolasco and Correia have been “Royal” thorns in the past.

Series Predictions – Believe it or not Kansas City is 0-3 in the Twin Cities this season but that was back in April when both teams were in different places. After a homestand that didn’t go well this is a critical road trip through Minneapolis and Cleveland. Prediction: Royals sweep given recent play away from home

2014 Meetings:
When the teams met in April at Kauffman Stadium, KC finally won against Minnesota taking two of three games. Kansas City won 5-0, 5-4 with a series finale loss of 8-3 Vargas/Chen picked up wins while Ventura suffered the lone defeat in that three game set.

Franchise History:
Minnesota increased their advantage in the all-time series to 369-332 after adding three games. In Minneapolis they’re just 154-195 and in the 40 games played at Target Field are 17-23 since the park opened.

TV/Radio Coverage:
All three games can be seen on FOX Sports Kansas City with Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler handing the TV broadcast. On the Royals Radio Network (610 Sports Radio in KC) will be Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart.

AL Central Standings (June 30):
Detroit Tigers (44-34, – GB)
Kansas City Royals (42-39, GB 3.5)
Cleveland Indians (39-42, GB 6.5)
Chicago White Sox (39-44, GB 7.5)
Minnesota Twins (37-43, GB 8)

2014 Series Schedule/Results v. Twins (MIN 4-2)
April 11-13, Target Field – L 10-1, L 7-1, L 4-3
April 18-20, Kauffman Stadium – W 5-0, W 5-4, L 8-3
June 30-July 2, Target Field
July 29-31, Kauffman Stadium
August 15-18, Target Field
August 26-28, Kauffman Stadium

Game Notes:
Minnesota Twins
Kansas City Royals

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