KC Royals set to host defending AL Champs
By Colby Wilson
The KC Royals spent the entirety of May touring the American League’s East and Central divisions. This weekend, it’s Cleveland again, after which the schedule takes on a dramatically different arc.
As we enter our post-Danny Duffy lives (until sometime in July), it’s notable that Dayton Moore and the KC Royals brass still believe they can pony up and win again. Jon Heyman’s AL roundup yesterday said, “Word going around is that they’d love to see ‘if they have one more run in them.’”
I am all for positivity, especially in these troubled times and especially when our primary form of entertainment seems to be arguing with one another on the internet. If everybody had that sort of sunny outlook, the world would be a kinder place.
Unfortunately, the standings say that the KC Royals are fresh out of runs—in both the literal sense and in the way Heyman uses the word. As we covered a little in the last preview, the Royals have been pretty profoundly unlucky at the plate. Now, they don’t have Duffy around to put a halt to continued meltdowns by the starters and keep the bullpen at least semi-fresh.
The reality is that the KC Royals would probably be better off this year if they made some moves, even if those moves had an eye toward the future. The lucky rabbit’s foot hitting leadoff is bad.
The starting pitching is suspect, and Fangraphs Jeff Zimmerman isn’t a big fan of Eric Skoglund. It’s no longer that the future outlook is murky; since Duffy went down, the present doesn’t look all that enticing either. The KC Royals can’t stand pat and win as presently constructed, but aren’t giving any indications they want to get into a rebuild. It’s a bad interesting strategy.
My intention was not to go full-fledged soap box there. Here’s a puppy cuddling a stuffed green octopus as recompense.
Also, a preview:
Game One: Jason Vargas (6-3, 2.39 ERA) vs. Josh Tomlin (3-6, 5.79 ERA); 7:15 p.m. (CT), Friday; FSKC
Vargas danced around danger in a win against the Tribe last week, scattering nine hits and two runs for the win. Josh Tomlin has been an abject train wreck against non-KC Royals foes this season, but he’s 1-0 with a 1.13 ERA in two starts against the Royals following last Sunday’s complete-game. So who knows?
Watch If: I’m going to keep beating the “Jason Vargas is gonna bounce back and be awesome again just to shove it in Jeff Sullivan’s face,” thing until he proves me right one time or proves me to be wrong in perpetuity.
Game Two: Jason Hammel (1-6, 6.18 ERA) vs. Carlos Carrasco (5-2, 2.89 ERA); 1:15 p.m. (CT), Saturday; FSKC
It’s been a really long time since Jason Hammel did anything encouraging. He pitched well-ish for four innings against Detroit for four innings, but that’s not exactly quality start territory. Now he faces Carrasco, who averages nearly a K an inning against the KC Royals, and Edwin Encarnacion, who has taken Hammel deep four times in 18 career at-bats.
Watch If: I can’t in good conscience tell anyone to watch Jason Hammel attempt to perform baseball things right now.
Game Three: Eric Skoglund (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (5-4, 6.00 ERA); 1:15 p.m. (CT), Sunday; FSKC
Bauer struck out 14 A’s last time out, which is not surprising as he is a long-time strikeout machine. Skoglund’s first career start, whatever anticipation you may have had regarding him, was amazing by every objective standard. Now that the nerves and the hype and the adrenalin from career start No. 1 is gone, I’m extremely interested to see how he performs against the defending AL champs.
Watch If: You think Skoglund’s a stud.
Predictions Sure to Be Wrong
In Game One: Mike Moustakas homers twice, spouts Confucius quotes in postgame interview.
Game Two: Jason Hammel needs a hug; Lorenzo Cain obliges.
Next: Who Should be Dayton's Priority?
Game Three: We find out Eric Skoglund has a cat named Checkers.