KC Royals Preview: 4 factors to focus on in NL East matchup

The hot Royals could have their hands full in Philadelphia this weekend.
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Game 2 starters for the KC Royals and Philly present an interesting matchup

Saturday's game shapes up as a battle of two starting pitchers trending in opposite directions this season. KC's Alec Marsh has struggled a lot in his time in the majors while flashing some high strikeout stuff, while Cristopher Sánchez is having his best season after two rough ones to start his career.

Sánchez comes into this series with a 2.66 ERA, a 7.80 K/9, a 1.52 BB/9, and a 0.7 fWAR on the season. The biggest downside to his game is the fact that he gives up home runs at a high rate at 1.33 HR/9. While Sanchez has that low ERA, the deeper stats don't reflect as well—his xERA is 3.85 and his FIP is 4.16. To put it plainly, Sánchez throws strikes and some of them are quite hittable.

On the other hand, Marsh has been less than stellar this year, as his 6.75 ERA demonstrates all too well. The biggest thing he has shown is the strikeout upside with a K/9 of 10.50, but he also walks too many batters (5.63 BB/9) and gives up way too many home runs (3.38 HR/9). The key for him in Saturday's matchup, and for the rest of the season, is to limit both walks and hard contact if he is going to stick at the major league level.

This series with the Phillies will be an interesting one. The Phillies look to build a Wild Card lead while the Royals look to build on their six-game winning streak.

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