KC Royals: Can players hit key marks in final series?

(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images)
(Photo by Emilee Chinn/Getty Images) /
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KC Royals, Scott Barlow
(Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports) /

A good weekend will give a handful of KC Royals hurlers some good numbers.

Kansas City reliever Scott Barlow led the majors in appearances last season, but wasn’t the club’s closer. That role went first to Trevor Rosenthal, then to Greg Holland when the Royals traded Rosenthal to San Diego. But now, working in his fourth season with KC, Barlow is its undisputed closer, the pitcher Manager Mike Matheny relies on more than any other to save close wins.

Barlow comes into this weekend with 16 saves, a respectable number for a losing team. Getting to 20 is now impossible, but another save or two won’t hurt, especially if the Royals decide to shop him over the winter.

As his 2.92 ERA, .181 OBA, 10.0 SO9 and 1.07 WHIP in 63 games attest, Josh Staumont is, like Barlow, a key bullpen piece. He’ll want to keep his ERA below 3.00, but it could be close—if he pitches two innings and gives up an earned run in each, Staumont will finish at 3.10. So, pitching well will be good for the Royals and him.

What of the starters? Carlos Hernandez is done starting for the season, Angel Zerpa debuted Thursday night and won’t start again, and Brad Keller, Mike Minor, Brady Singer, and Daniel Lynch are on the Injured List. All that makes Kris Bubic, who pitched last Sunday, and rookies Jon Heasley and Jackson Kowar, this weekend’s likeliest starters. And although the club hadn’t listed its Saturday and Sunday starters as of late Thursday night, mlb.com’s Anne Rogers reports Heasley gets the call Friday night:

Heasley will be seeking his first big league win, as will Kowar if Matheny picks him for one of the other two starts.

And another Bubic start gives the second-year Royal a shot at a winning season—he’s 6-6.

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The KC Royals begin their final series of the season tonight. Game time against Minnesota is set for 7:10 p.m. CDT at Kauffman Stadium; the teams meet Saturday evening at 6:10 p.m. CDT, then finish up Sunday at 2:10 p.m. CDT.