The KC Royals avoided a sweep in their first home series of the year with a 3-1 win over the Oakland A’s. They now look to keep their momentum in a home series against the LA Angels.
The Angels come to play the KC Royals with a 6-4 record, 2nd in the AL West. They aren’t far removed from a huge comeback win over the Seattle Mariners in which they scored 7 runs to win in 9th to walk it off. They lost 2 of 3 in their last series against the Texas Rangers.
In the past 5 years, the KC Royals are 15-17 against the Angels, along with a 3-0 series win in the 2014 ALDS. Though, the Angels had the KC Royals number last year, winning 6 of 7.
Game 1: LHP Danny Duffy (1-0, 2.08 ERA, 1.23 WHIP) vs. RHP JC Ramirez (2-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.80 WHIP)
In the first game of the series, the Royals will be sending their ace, Danny Duffy to the mound. He is coming off of a 7 inning, 2 run start against the Houston Astros, a game in which he got his first win of the year.
Danny Duffy pitched in one start against the Angels last year, going 6 innings, giving up 3 runs, while striking out 5. In his career, Duffy has pitched against the Angels four times, three of those stars. He is 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA.
Danny Duffy had a 3.90 ERA in night games at the K last year.
Look for Danny Duffy to generate swings and misses. He’s second in the majors early on in swinging strike percentage at 17.1%. That should be tough against the Angels though. Last year in a start against them, Duffy had a swinging strike rate of 9.8%, one of his worst since he moved to the rotation full-time. The Angels are eight in baseball though, at 8%.
Toeing the slab for the halos will be JC Ramirez, making his first career start. He has been a middle reliever his whole major league career, as he hasn’t made a start since 2011 for Phillies AA team.
The longest appearance of his career is 3 innings, which he has done twice.
What’s interesting though is according to Fangraphs pitch values, Ramirez’s best game with his fastball was in one of those 3 inning appearances. His third best game with his fastball was in the other 3 inning appearance. So expect Ramirez to rely on his fastball a lot.
Batter to Watch – Eric Hosmer: Hosmer hit .323 off of fastballs last year. Hosmer also has a +113 wRC+ verses righties at home.