Another sweep, anyone? The KC Royals can do it again today

Kansas City hosts Houston this afternoon.
Peter Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Update: This KC Royals game preview has been updated to include Houston's lineup, which wasn't available at first publication.

Spurred by the sudden reemergence of the heretofore too-quiet Vinnie Pasquantino, who exploded at the plate by driving in a career-high five runs, clubbed his first homer of the season, and raised his batting average from .108 to .175 with a perfect 3-for-3 effort, the KC Royals wrecked Houston starter Spencer Arrighetti's major league debut Wednesday night.

By the time Astros manager Joe Espada mercifully removed him from the game after three innings, the Royals had battered him for seven runs, all of which they scored in the third, and seven hits, all but one of which they collected in Arrighetti's disastrous third frame. And when the Kauffman Stadium night was over, the Royals' 11-2 victory marked their sixth win in a row and gave them sole possession of second place in the American League Central.

Today, Kansas City can write another chapter of what is rapidly becoming one of the best, if not the best, feel-good story of this still-young major league season when they close out the current homestand with a 1:10 p.m. CDT contest with the Astros.

With a win, the Royals will clinch their second straight series sweep

After bouncing back from their short but disappointing road trip to Baltimore by completing a four-game sweep of the White Sox Sunday, Kansas City walked off Houston Tuesday night on Salvador Perez's 10th-inning RBI single. That, and Wednesday evening's blowout, gave the Royals another series win and the opportunity to sweep a series for the second time in a row; should they win today, they'll accomplish something done rarely since the misery of eight consecutive losing seasons began in 2017.

Kansas City can inch ever-so-close to first place

The Royals had the chance to grab a share of the AL Central lead Wednesday, but Cleveland ruined things by beating the White Sox in extra innings, a win that kept the Guardians a game ahead of KC. But if the Royals complete a sweep of Houston, they'll move within a half-game of Cleveland; unfortunately, the top spot will remain out of reach for at least another day because Cleveland has Thursday off.

Who starts on the mound today?

Starting his third game of the year for the Royals will be Brady Singer and his microscopic 0.68 ERA — probably due as much to how he's using his four-seamer as anything else, he's given up only one run in 13.1 innings. He's also struck out 14 and issued just two walks; his WHIP is an outstanding 0.53.

Getting the start for Houston will be Hunter Brown, who's 0-1 with a 6.43 ERA in two starts. In one career outing against Kansas City, he 0-1 with an 18.00 ERA (six runs in three innings).

Who else is playing for each club this afternoon?

The Royals will line up like this:

The Astros' lineup:

Who's hot, who's not

While Pasquantino sizzled Wednesday night, only time will tell whether he's back in the groove. Still hot, though, is Perez, whose Wednesday single gave him a hit in eight of his last 10 games. He's slashing .333/.360/.479 and his 10 RBI tie Maikel Garcia for the club lead.

Seth Lugo's third quality start gave him his second win of the season and his ERA is 1.45 after he surrendering only two runs to the Astros in seven innings Wednesday.

And still speaking of Wednesday's game, the KC bullpen didn't allow a run ... again. It's held opponents scoreless for seven straight games.

Nick Loftin pinch hit for Maikel García in the eighth inning Wednesday and flew out. He's 2-for-14 (.143) in eight games.

How to follow today's KC-Houston matchup

As usual, Bally Sports Kansas City has the telecast, cable cutters can find streaming options here, and listeners can tune into their local Royals Radio Network affiliate.

More about the KC Royals from Kings of Kauffman