Medlen had a pretty rocky beginning to his 2016 season, giving up two runs in the first inning on three hits and two walks.
However, he recovered nicely to strike out seven batters over five innings of work in route to his first win of the season, while not surrendering any more runs after the first inning.
The Royals will be opposed by Sonny Gray, who will be the marquee pitcher of the weekend for either team. In three starts against the Royals, he has posted a 3.15 ERA, and has given up just one home run in those 20-innings.
This is probably the first real outlier from the Royals early season rotation shuffle, where you see Medlen (the Royals bona fide fifth starter) facing another team’s ace.
(I’m not counting Chris Young against Noah Syndergaard because you could argue that matchup favored the Royals.)
This is also a rare MLB game between two starting pitchers who are 5’10 or shorter.
While they are similar in that aspect, they are both pretty different styled pitchers. Both have mostly average velocity on their fastballs (although Gray’s “sinker” can get into the mid-90’s), but Gray has the hands-down better stuff.
Must-See Matchup – Sonny Gray v. the Royals
Despite starting the season against the likes of Matt Harvey and Noah Syndergaard, Gray is arguably the best pitcher the Royals have (and maybe even will) face this season.
Being buried in Oakland has kept Gray’s name out of the ears of many baseball fans, but he is coming off of a season where he finished third in the Cy Young Award voting.
Over 427 innings during the last two seasons, he has posted an ERA of 2.90 and has given up just four run sin 13.1 innings this season.
The Royals haven’t had much success against him in the three times they have faced him, and with one of his feature pitches being his sinker, their ability to keep the ball of the ground may be in question on Sunday.