Series Preview: Dodgers (42-35) at Royals (39-36)


Well that wasn’t a fun start to the homestand with three straight one-run defeats against Seattle. Behind the next door is Los Angeles which has two aces starting Monday/Tuesday including one coming off a no-hitter last week. Here’s our preview for this rare interleague match-up of blue and white teams.

Zack Greinke won’t be the only ace KC faces against LA, as the Royals will see Clayton Kershaw also. Photo Credit: Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

We reached out to Scott Andes of Lasorda’s Lair ahead of this series to see what’s up with the Dodgers. Here is the other part of the conversation with Scott

Kings of Kauffman – What’s the best way to sum up the Dodgers to this point?
Lasorda’s Lair – The best way to sum up the Dodgers in 2014 so far, is probably either disappointment, or under performance. So far the Dodgers have not lived up to their lofty expectations. The club has not been able to win more than three games in a row, or put together any kind of consistent winning streak this season. The injuries, poor relief pitching, sloppy defense, and lack of situational hitting has, all contributed to the club’s lack of consistency the first two and a half months although things seem to be turning around. The club has been playing better over the last couple of weeks, and they’ve made up 5.5 games in the standings. The division is within their grasp (4 games behind SF as of today). The club has a talented yet poorly constructed roster very capable of going on another incredible winning streak like they did in 2013. All the pieces are in place.

KOK – Zack Greinke won a Cy Young while here in KC but how good has he been with LA?
LL – Greinke has been outstanding with the Dodgers. Greinke is not just a great pitcher, but a great athlete and Baseball player. Not only does he pitch well, but he can hit and field his position. The guy knows how to play Baseball. He studies advanced stats, and uses proper mechanics to be in good position to field his position. He’s def not your average ace. So far Greinke is 24-7 with the Dodgers. He’s got a 4-1 strikeout to walk ratio. He’s been worth every cent.

KOK – With ownership finally settled what moves do you think they’ll make at the trade deadline?
LL – It’s too early to say what moves the Dodgers will make. Obviously everyone knows they have four outfielders, and one of them may be available, (not Puig of course). But if the Dodgers are going to do anything at the trade deadline, it’s probably going to be to acquire relief help. The Dodgers could use some help in the bullpen more than anything. The Dodgers don’t have a lot of trade chips though. Most of their players are under huge contracts and would be hard to move. The farm system lacks impact position player prospects, so the club doesn’t have a whole lot of roster flexibility.

KOK – Can Los Angeles have the same kind of success they reeled off last season in the second half?
LL – Of course they can. They have a very talented roster. But they have problems too. The bullpen has been a weakness because of lack of control. The relievers walk too many guys. The defense has been poor as well, even though it’s been a bit better of late. The Dodgers have not been a good defensive club at all this season. The bench lacks power, and the club has too many injury prone players. But the Dodgers are unbelievably talented throughout the roster. The starting rotation is the best in the game. I’ll put Kershaw/Greinke/Ryu/Beckett/Haren up against anyone esle’s rotation. I’m talking about the Pepsi challenge. The lineup is loaded with sluggers like Yaseil Puig, Hanley Ramirez, Adrian Gonzalez, Matt Kemp, and lovable portly third baseman Juan Uribe, who seems to have risen to cult level love status with the Dodger fan base. The Dodgers can have the same level of success, but it;s going to take discipline and focus. Sometimes the club seems to be lacking in those areas. The Dodgers should be right there at the end, they’re built for success. Whether they can sustain this kind of success is another question.

KOK – Series predictions
LL – Well, the Dodgers are one of the better road teams in the majors this year. They’ve been playing pretty well of late, and haven’t had much problems with the American League so far. Their starting pitching has been on quite a roll as you already probably know. Kershaw and Beckett have both pitched no-hitters. I’ll say two out of three sounds reasonable.

Probable Pitching Match-ups:
Monday, 7:10 pm – Zack Greinke/RHP (9-3, 2.57) v. Jeremy Guthrie/RHP (4-6, 3.86)
Tuesday, 7:10 pm – Clayton Kershaw/LHP (7-2, 2.52) v. Danny Duffy/LHP (4-6, 2.80)
Wednesday, 7:10 pm – Dan Haren/RHP (7-4, 3.62) v. James Shields/RHP (8-3, 3.70)

Comments on Pitching Match-ups – On paper, LA has an overwhelming advantage throwing ex-Royal Greinke and Kershaw back-to-back days to open the series. Wednesday seems to be the best chance at a win with Haren going against Shields to close out things out. Here’s hoping that Guthrie/Duffy can give KC a chance for the offense to at least get into the bullpen.

Series Predictions – Well I was right about a sweep this weekend at Kauffman Stadium, unfortunately it was for the other team. I don’t see things getting better this series and feel LA will walk away winning three straight.

Last Meetings:
Since interleague began, the Royals and Dodgers have met just twice, yes just six games with a series at Kauffman (2005) and Dodger Stadium (2003). It was a three game sweep with KC winning 3-2, 3-1 and 9-6 nine years ago when Kansas City finished 56-106.

Franchise History:
In six all-time games our boys in blue lead 4-2, with as mentioned a 3-0 record at the K between these franchises.

TV/Radio Coverage:
Fans can tune into FOX Sports Kansas City for two of the three games with Ryan Lefebvre  and Rex Hudler on TV. Joel Goldberg and Jeff Montgomery hosts Royals Live before and after from Rivals. Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews is joined in the booth by Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart on the Royals Radio Network (610 Sports Radio in KC) describing the action from the Kauffman Stadium.

AL Central Standings (June 24):
Detroit Tigers (40-32, – GB)
Kansas City Royals (39-36, 2.5 GB)
Cleveland Indians (37-39, 5 GB)
Minnesota Twins (36-38, 5 GB)
Chicago White Sox (35-41, 7 GB)

Series Schedule v. Dodgers
June 24-26, 2014 – Kauffman Stadium

Game Notes:
Los Angeles Dodgers
Kansas City Royals