Baseball is a funny game. Sometimes a player loves to see a certain team and is ready to play as soon as they get to the stadium. Sometimes they hate to look at the schedule. Which teams do some of the KC Royals love to see coming, and which are their baseball kryptonite?
Let’s find out, relying for the bulk of the numbers on Baseball-Reference.com.
Baseball Hall of Famer George Brett finished with a career .305 average, a number boosted by his .329 mark against the Seattle Mariners. Brett also seemed to enjoy the Toronto Blue Jays, against whom he slashed .321/.402/.551. And Texas pitchers surrendered 34 of Brett’s 317 career home runs.
The other side of the coin? Brett’s lowest average was .273 in 188 games against Cleveland.
Pitcher and club Hall of Famer Paul Splittorff has the most wins in team history with 166. Splitt might have had a love-hate relationship with the White Sox—in 48 appearances (46 starts) against the Sox, he went 21-21 with a 2.98 ERA, 11 complete games and three shutouts—the ERA was the best, and the wins, complete games and shutouts the most, he had against any club, but the losses were also the most he suffered against any one team.
The Yankees seemed to have Splittorff’s number as he mustered just a 14-16 record and 4.68 ERA in 40 career regular season games against them. But in seven playoff appearances, Splittorff had their number with a 2-0 record and 2.79 ERA.
Reliever and current Royals broadcaster Jeff Montgomery, who pitched briefly for the Reds before coming to Kansas City in one of the club’s best trades with Cincinnati and who is another member of the team’s Hall of Fame, is the Royals’ all-time leader with 304 saves. He posted 31 of them, and two wins, against Seattle and 29 saves and four victories against Milwaukee. And he had a stellar 2.07 ERA in 58 career appearances against Minnesota.
His greatest struggles came against Baltimore, to whom he lost seven and posted a 4.25 ERA.
Two current KC Royals have favorite and least favorite teams to hit against.
With today’s unbalanced schedule, Kansas City player statistics will be heavily weighted to American League Central teams. (All career totals for current players are through April 23).
Salvador Perez had a career .269 mark with 205 home runs and 663 RBIs. Salvy has 30 home runs and 101 RBIs against Minnesota and is batting .321 against the Angels. Texas has kept him to a .193 mark in 41 career games while Cleveland has held him to a .245 average.
Whit Merrifield carried a lifetime .288 average with 916 career hits and 162 stolen bases into Sunday’s game at Seattle. He’s hitting .387 against the Red Sox in 119 plate appearances, and has done plenty of damage against Detroit, playing the Tigers to the tune of a .331 average, 134 hits and 27 stolen bases. Like Perez, he hasn’t been hot against Cleveland, against whom he’s batting .254.
KC Royals pitcher Zack Greinke has had plenty of career success against the NL West.
Over his 19-year big league career, Zack Greinke has 219 wins and a 3.43 ERA. Counting his years with the Dodgers and Diamondbacks, Greinke has significant experience against the National League West. He has 14 career wins against Colorado, San Diego and San Francisco, the other three teams in the division, with nearly identical numbers against the Padres and Giants—14-3 against each with respective 2.39 and 2.37 ERAs.
Greinke has struggled against Minnesota, against whom he’s 5-10 with a 4.53 ERA.
Because of the pride Greinke takes in his hitting, it only makes sense to include his favorites teams to hit against. Of his nine career home runs, the Padres and Phillies have each allowed two. Of the teams he’s logged more than 25 plate appearances against, Greinke has a .257 average against St. Louis and .256 against the Giants.
And now that the NL has adopted the designated hitter, Greinke will go down as one of the last pitchers to get a hit in the World Series with the pinch-hit single he had in Game 5 of the 2021 Fall Classic.
On a pitching staff without a lot of major league experience, Brad Keller at 29-37 in 107 career games is one of the leading KC hurlers. Like Splittorff, but on a much smaller scale, Keller has his most career wins and losses against the White Sox, posting a 5-5 record and 3.48 ERA in 16 outings. In 10 appearances against Cleveland (eight starts), Keller has a 2-2 record, but an outstanding 1.71 ERA in 52.2 innings. Boston seems to have figured Keller out—in five games and 16.2 innings against them, he’s 0-1 with an 8.10 ERA.
What other clubs do you think Kansas City players either love or loathe playing against?