The KC Royals will make a brief return to Kauffman Stadium where they’ll play three games against one of the best National League teams in the Washington Nationals. Kansas City is coming off a 1-5 west coast trip where their starters and offense struggled.
There won’t be much time to pity themselves as the Nats come to the K at 17-7 plus sweeping our I-70 foes in St. Louis. It should be another tough series versus another tough NL East team before heading back on the road.
Probable Pitching Match-Ups
Monday, 7:15 pm – LHP Gio Gonzalez (1-1, 1.42 ERA) v. RHP Edinson Volquez (3-1, 3.64 ERA)
Tuesday, 7:15 pm – RHP Tanner Roark (2-2, 2.03 ERA) v. RHP Chris Young (1-4, 6.12 ERA)
Wednesday, 1:15 pm – RHP Stephen Strasburg (4-0, 2.25 ERA) v. RHP Kris Medlen (1-2, 4.87 ERA)
Comments on Pitching Match-Ups – On paper this series looks extremely lopsided in favor of Washington given how low the three pitchers ERA are they’ll employ. The KC Royals will start with steady Eddie before throwing two pitchers who’ve been shaky at times early on.
Game 1: Gonzlaez will face the toughest line-up he’s seen in 2016 given that he’s faced the Braves, Twins and Phillies twice depending on which Kansas CIty Royals line-up comes to play. Volquez is coming off his first defeat on Tuesday night in Anaheim where he allowed a homerun to former KC Royals prospect Johnny Giavotella, he’ll also look to extend his winning streak versus NL East foes that dates back to 2013 (nine starts).
Game 2: Roark spent time as a starter and reliever last season but due to offseason moves he’s been in their rotation all season and contributing. It’s no secret that Young has struggled but it’s been against good opponents for the most part which will again be the case during this start can he find a groove?
Game 3: Strasberg is finally playing up to the potential that many had for him as he’s unbeaten and posting a sub-three ERA early on. Medlen was a tough luck loser for the KC Royals on Friday night as the only hit he (and the bullpen) allowed was a Seth Smith home run.
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Series Outlook – Bryce Harper comes in on an absolute tear to start this season which has helped the Nats start. Outside of Harper it’s been a mix of guys on offense getting the job done as Jayson Werth has the next highest HR total behind the nine that he leads with at four.
The pitching staff in DC has been excellent from starting to the back end which is Jonathan Papelbon, an extremely polarizing figure who has saved nine games. There were some positives from Sunday’s win in Seattle as Alcides Escobar had a multiple hit game, Lorenzo Cain had a nice series and Eric Hosmer hit another home run. Dusty Baker has led his team to a nice start against a soft schedule, should get a good test against Ned Yost‘s defending World Champions.
Prediction – Nationals take two of three
Washington won two of three games three years ago at Kauffman Stadium winning 11-10, 7-4 before losing 6-4. Roark got the win in game one, Wade Davis as a starter suffered the game two defeat and Kelvin Herrera earned the win in game three in the Kansas City Royals lone victory.
All-time the Expos/Nationals have won 9-of-12 all-time meetings, this will be the third series between Kansas City-Washington as the first two they were still in Montreal. The KC Royals are 2-4 at home in this series with a 1-5 mark Olympic Stadium/Nationals Park.
FOX Sports Kansas City will broadcast all four games from Houston with Ryan Lefebvre and Rex Hudler. Joel Goldberg and Kansas City Royals Hall of Famer Jeff Montgomery host Royals Live before and after the games.
On the Royals Radio Network (610 Sports in KC) will be KC Royals Hall of Famer/2007 Ford C. Frick Award winner Denny Matthews who’s joined in the booth by Steve Physioc and Steve Stewart.