KC Royals vs. Pittsburgh: 3 keys to another sweep

(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Danny Duffy
(Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports) /

The KC Royals’ starters are suddenly solid and need to be against the Bucs.

The Kansas City rotation, beset most of this young season by the struggles of Brad Keller and Mike Minor, was an unlikely force behind the Royals’ just-completed sweep of Detroit. The starters’ wins in each game were well-earned, their domination of the Tigers stunning.

As a group, Minor, Brady Singer, Danny Duffy and Keller simply shut Detroit down. Pitching nearly six innings apiece (23.2 between them to be precise), the four struck out 29 Tigers, issued only four walks, and surrendered just five runs (1.90 ERA).

Sweeping Pittsburgh will require Jakob Junis and Minor, scheduled to pitch Games 1 and 2, to continue that dominance. Although the Pirates aren’t scoring a lot (3.9 runs per game), they have some capable bats.

While no Royals regulars are batting better than .288, two Pirate hitters are above .300—second baseman Adam Frazier is hitting .310 and left fielder Bryan Reynolds is at .304. Two Royals, Salvador Perez and Carlos Santana, have five homers and none have four; Pittsburgh third baseman Phillip Evans and first baseman Colin Moran have four apiece, and Moran leads the team with 16 RBIs; only Santana has driven in more runs (18) for KC.

As a team, the Pirates rank seventh in the majors, and second in the National League, in doubles, and 15th in hits (KC ranks 18th). They’re 14th in walks (KC is 22nd).

The Pirates aren’t pushovers at the plate. Kansas City’s starters can’t let up.