KC Royals: 3 big things to watch for against Oakland

(Mandatory Credit: William Purnell-USA TODAY Sports)
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KC Royals, Carlos Santana
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Can Carlos Santana keep up his hot hitting for the KC Royals this weekend?

The comparisons of Carlos Santana to Jorge Soler are now unavoidable. Like Soler a year ago, Santana is playing out his contract season and, after a prolonged and miserable slump, and precisely when the Royals most need it, he may be improving his marketability as the Aug. 2 trade deadline nears.

Santana started this season much as he ended 2021—badly. Slowed by a hip injury last year, he struggled during the second half and finished with a .214 average. Then, and although apparently injury-free, he hit .127 this April and .169 in May.

But his bat, all but given up for dead, has come alive. He’s slashing .356/.482/.556 this month and, on the nine-game road trip Kansas City just finished, slashed .381/.500/.571 with a 1.071 OPS, five walks, a homer, and five RBIs in seven games.

Santana won’t be back in Kansas City next season—neither he nor the team hold a contract option and it won’t be long before the club promotes Vinnie Pasquantino or Nick Pratto to take over first base.

In the meantime, and for his sake and the team’s, Santana needs to stay hot. Santana hitting well helps him and the Royals—the better the bat, the better are his chances to find a stretch-run job with a contender and reap a decent trade return for his present employer.

And KC could use a hot bat this weekend.

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The three-game KC-Oakland series begins at 7:10 p.m. CDT tonight, continues Saturday afternoon at 3:10 p.m. CDT, and concludes Sunday afternoon at 1:10 p.m. CDT.