Series Preview: Royals (26-30) v. Cardinals (30-27)


Oh Canada! After starting the series by winning the first two games at Rogers Center Kansas City (26-30) closed out the weekend losing by a combined 16-2 score against Toronto. Tonight begins the four-game, two city I-70 series against St. Louis (30-27).

We decided that it made sense to talk with editor Daniel Solzman of Redbird Rants before this series begins.

Kings of Kauffman – What has the Cardinals season been like so far?
Red Bird Rants – The season could be better.  Some of these losses are inexcusable!  It seems like outside of Adam Wainwright and Michael Wacha, the Cardinals can’t really depend on the other three starters if they expect to make another deep postseason run.  I would love to see Joe Kelly be healthy once more and if Jaime Garcia can be 100% healthy, the Cardinals will have a decent LHP in the rotation.

KOK – Seem over the last week St. Louis has struggled, is that due to the schedule or other factors?
RR – I don’t think it’s the schedule.  It’s other factors.  Bringing up Daniel Descalso with two outs and runners on does not contribute to a rally.  It’s almost as if he’s an automatic out and Greg Garcia is a player with the Memphis Redbirds that can backup second, third, and short.  It’s the Cardinals bench that factors in to things more so than anything else.  That and Carlos Martinez, who needs to be sent to Memphis for some fine-tuning.

Anyone could look at the stats and tell you it was a mistake to start Lance Lynn against the San Francisco Giants.  If they didn’t, they can say so for sure now.  The offense needed to be jolted, if anything else, and the Cardinals were wise to promote Oscar Taveras.

KOK – Who are the players Royals fans should watch this week outside the usual names?
RR – If Taveras is not a usual name yet, Randal Grichuk would be one to watch if Matheny starts him as opposed to saving him as a power threat off the bench.

KOK – Which pitchers are schedule to threw and how do you think that helps/hurts the team?
RR – Miller, Garcia, Wainwright, Wacha.  I give the Cards a 3-1 series advantage since I no longer know what to expect from Shelby Miller.  Miller has to limit walks and home runs allowed.  It finally caught up with him last week against the Yankees.

KOK – Series prediction for these four games?
RR – 3-1 with Monday being a loss.

The I-70 series begins tonight at Busch Stadium as the Royals and Cardinals square off in St. Louis. Photo Credit: Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

Probably Pitching Match-ups:
Monday (@STL), 7:10 pm – Danny Duffy/LHP (2-5, 3.57) v. Shelby Miller/RHP (6-4, 3.94)
Tuesday (@STL), 6:15 pm – James Shields/RHP (6-3, 3.36) v. Jaime Garcia/RHP (1-0, 4.12)
Wednesday (@KC), 7:10 pm – Adam Wainwright/RHP (8-3, 2.32) v. Jason Vargas/LHP (5-2, 3.39)
Thursday (@KC), 7:10 pm – Michael Wacha/RHP (4-3, 2.45) v. Yordano Ventura/RHP (2-5, 3.45)

Comments on Pitching Match-ups – YIKES!!!!!! But in all seriousness the Royals will have their work cut out for them despite trotting out Duffy, Shields, Vargas and Ventura. St. Louis is armed and ready for this series with Miller, Garcia to start then Wainwright and Wacha to close. Thursday night finale needs to be on everyone’s radar not just because Yordano is throwing but because of whose it is against.

Series Predictions – We know the offense is slumping by and large now sprinkle in this series has two games which the DH won’t be in (maybe not the worst thing) play. It’s when this series shifts to KC that has me concerned given who the Cardinals will throw. My prediction is that somehow it’s a split, yes read the confidence that I’m typing with.

2013 Meetings:
Everyone will remember the long night Kansas City had when both teams sat through a long rain delay in St. Louis. The Royals went 0-2 at home versus the Cardinals losing 6-3, 4-1 before going 1-1 at Busch Stadium with a 5-3 defeat and 4-2 victory.

Franchise History:
It’s been one sided overall in this interleague series with the red birds holding a 45-31 all-time advantage between in-state foes. However, in the Gateway to the West the teams are tied 16-16 but since moving to the newest Busch Stadium St. Louis narrowly leads 11-9. At Kauffman Stadium the Cardinals have owned the Royals going 29-15.

TV/Radio Coverage:
Fans can tune into FOX Sports Kansas City for all four games Steve Physioc with and Rex Hudler on TV. Joel Goldberg hosts Royals Live before and after from St. Louis. Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews is joined in the booth by Ryan Lefebvre  and Steve Stewart will be on the Royals Radio Network (610 Sports Radio in KC) describing the action from the ‘Lou. In addition fans can watch Monday’s game on ESPN (blackout depending on your location) with Dave O’Brien, Aaron Boone and Tim Kurkjian. Not sure how TV/radio for the Royals will shift for the final two games.

AL Central Standings (June 2):
Detroit Tigers (31-22)
Chicago White Sox (29-29, 4.5 GB)
Minnesota Twins (26-28, 5.5 GB)
Cleveland Indians (27-30, 6 GB)
Kansas City Royals (26-30, 6.5 GB)

2014 Series Schedule/Results v. Cardinals
June 2-3, Busch Stadium
June 4-5, Kauffman Stadium

Game Notes:
St. Louis Cardinals
Kansas City Royals