In a battle versus the top team in baseball, the Kansas City Royals get a taste of how much progress they need to make to get to top of the league again.
Ned Yost has stated that playing a group of contenders to close the season out is good for the Kansas City Royals to see where they stand. I agree with that and like the positive approach to the competition, but the weekend series against Houston showed that Kansas City still has a long way to go.
Friday was the best game of the series as the Royals stood toe-to-toe with Astros thanks a great start by Danny Duffy who only allowed one run through six innings while striking out six. Gerrit Cole matched Duffy’s performance by tossing eight frames and punching out eleven Royals. Things fell apart in the ninth as Heath Fillmyer walked two, gave up three hits and three earned runs leading to the final score of 4-1.
Saturday’s contest was also close through six innings with Houston holding only a 2-1 lead. While Mike Montgomery held them to two runs, he struggled walking five batters and only lasted five frames. The Astros put the game out of reach in eighth when Yordan Alvarez hit a three-run blast off Gabe Speier and the Royals offense was held in check by former-Royal Zack Greinke shutting them down with seven strikeouts over six innings. The final score was Houston 6, Kansas City 1.
Unfortunately, Sunday was the worst run differential between the two teams with Houston pounding Kansas City 12-3. Jakob Junis really toiled allowing nine base runners and five earned runs while not completing three innings. Eric Skoglund and Kyle Zimmer gave up 3 and 4 earned runs, respectively, in just one inning of work apiece. Wade Miley was not dominant against the Royals, but he did not need to be as they only scratched out single runs in the first, fifth and ninth innings.
Overall Kansas City was outscored 22-5 in the series. Both teams struggled in the first part of this decade and rebounded to have great seasons, including one World Series championship for each franchise. Houston has been able to build on their success while the Royals have had to rebuild again. Hopefully with a new owner and more money coming in the Royals can copy the success the Astros have maintained.