KC Royals: Why this homestand is club’s last chance

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals
(Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the Twins come some sluggers, and that’s not good for the KC Royals.

Cincinnati has power, but so do the Twins, and they’ll get first crack at Kansas City starting tonight. If the weather’s hot and the wind blows out, anticipate some fireworks from Minnesota’s bats.

Leading the way is, of course, old Royal nemesis Nelson Cruz. Although he’s hitting only .250 against Kansas City this season, Cruz traditionally batters the Royals—the veteran is slashing .280/.362/.587 against them with 31 homers and 83 RBIs in 103 career games. Cruz has an uncanny habit of hurting the Royals when it counts the most.

Cruz leads the Twins in home runs this year with 18 and RBIs with 45, and he’s defying age (41) with a 70-game .310 average and .382 OBP.

First baseman Miguel Sano is batting only .190, but his 14 homers make him a constant threat. Third baseman Josh Donaldson has 13 homers. (Byron Buxton has 10 but is out with a fractured hand). So, like the Reds, Minnesota has the guns to feast on Kansas City’s home run charity.

Although the Twins haven’t disclosed a Saturday starter to pit against Danny Duffy (4-3, 2.44), J.A. Happ (4-3, 5.83) will face Brady Singer (3-6, 4.70) tonight, and Kenta Maeda (3-3, 5.56) goes against Brad Keller (6-8, 6.67) Sunday. Minnesota’s hurlers have given up the most home runs and second most runs in the AL, but those numbers may not matter much considering the Royals’ continuing ineptitude at the plate.

The Twins, 33-46 (5-5 against KC), are in fourth place in the Central, just a half-game ahead of the Royals.

Prediction: Minnesota’s starters aren’t the best, but Kansas City’s are worse. The Twins give up and hit a lot of home runs; the Royals rank sixth in the AL in homers surrendered and fourth in runs allowed, and are last in home runs hit. Give Minnesota the pitching and hitting edges and an excellent chance to win two of three, or even sweep, Kansas City.