Kansas City Royals kick off West Coast swing in Seattle
Depending on the week, the opponent or even the starting pitcher, how you feel about the Kansas City Royals chances on any given day could be in flux.
Take tonight. You see, I should feel pretty good because a rookie is being recalled to make his second career major league start and the Kansas City Royals have been playing really well of late.
But also, Ian Kennedy is pitching. And Ian Kennedy, despite a quality outing last week against Detroit, is 2-6 with an ERA hovering near 5.00.
“But,” you say, “The Kansas City Royals just took three of four from a divisional rival to force their way back into the playoff picture and will at least make a show of forcing Cleveland to take them seriously in the AL Central race.”
“Of course,” you would remind yourself, “That same team just dropped two of three to a worse divisional rival, earlier last week, making the weekend series something of a last stand.”
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“Ah,” the third of your split personalities would then chime in, “This is a team that has yet to function at 100 percent all season, between an injury to Danny Duffy and the latest of late-coming success from Alcides Escobar and Alex Gordon.”
“Fair point,” your subconscious could counter, “But it’s also fair to note that a late-career renaissance that turns Jason Vargas into Warren Spahn and an early-career renaissance that makes Whit Merrifield a more valuable second baseman than Brian Dozier and DJ LaMahieu isn’t the most likely thing either.”
I make these points to illustrate two things. One, high-functioning sociopathy is not for the faint of heart. And two, the 2017 Kansas City Royals have more ups and downs than a rollercoaster. You never really know which team is showing up from day to day or week to week. That’s part of the fun!
Let’s hope it’s the team that dominated the Twins over the weekend. Anyway, here’s some Nirvana. Let’s talk about Seattle.
Game One: Ian Kennedy (2-6, 4.72 ERA) vs. Andrew Moore (1-0, 3.86 ERA); 9:10 p.m. (CT), Monday; FSKC
Moore has pitched well in Tacoma, which makes it weird that he’s making just his second start for a team that’s used 13 starting pitchers already and has let Yovani Gallardo’s corpse make 14 starts.
Kennedy has been better than Gallardo, but not by that much. He needs to build off a respectable start against the Tigers last week.
Watch If: You’ve got some pre-Independence Day insomnia.
Game Two: Danny Duffy (4-4, 3.54 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (3-2, 4.66 ERA); 5:40 p.m. (CT), Tuesday; FSKC
Duffy’s return! Felix rounding back into form! Squint and this is an October preview, even if it would’ve been a better all-around matchup before both got hurt. King Felix hasn’t been terribly kingly the past couple of seasons (2.0 combined WAR coupled with a precipitous dip in strikeout rate); with 12 seasons on the odometer for the 31-year old, I’m worried we’ve already seen the best he has to offer.
Watch If: Do you need me sell you on the return of Duffman and the mere possibility Felix turns back the clock for an old-school performance?
Game Three: Jason Vargas (12-3, 2.22 ERA) vs. Ariel Miranda (7-4, 3.82 ERA); 9:10 p.m. (CT), Wednesday; FSKC
[whispers] this may be the better pitching matchup.
Dr. Vargas’ weekly dissection you don’t need me to pimp for you. At this point, you either appreciate him dissecting every opponent with a variety off-speed, more off-speed, lots of spin and control and somehow even slower speeds or you don’t. It works. It stopped making sense to me two months ago, I embraced it and I’m better for it.
In a season where Seattle has had their high hopes somewhat dashed by injury and Houston running roughshod over the AL West, Miranda has been an impressive constant, tossing seven scoreless and scattering two hits in his last start against the Angels.
Watch If: Good gracious, this is a good series isn’t it? Watch because you like baseball, you heathen.
Predictions Sure to be Wrong about the Kansas City Royals
In Game One: Kennedy warms up wearing a stovepipe hat, auctions it off to charity for 10 grand.
Game Two: Eric Hosmer accidentally pulls a Steve Lyons, revealing patriotic underwear.
Game Three: Dr. Vargas gets his summer interns; Salvador Perez gets jealous.