Kansas City Royals (33-48, 5th in the AL Central)
Last Series vs. Rockies: May 21-23, 2010 (L 1-2 at Kauffman Stadium)
Last year's series in Kansas City was, luckily for Colorado, nothing like when the two teams last faced each other at Coors Field (a series in which the Rockies reached their low point during the '07 campaign by dropping two of three to the lowly Royals). Despite being blown out of the first game, the Rox ended up taking two of three from the home team.
Brian Bannister defeated Jason Hammel in game one 9-2. Hammel didn't pitch all that badly, striking six and allowing just six hits in 6.2 innings, but he was victimized by Jose Guillen for two big home runs, and the offense was unable to dig out of the hole against Bannister, who allowed two runs on seven hits in 7.1 innings - the only blemish being a Clint Barmes two-run homer in the eighth inning.
Game two saw the Rockies bounce back and win 3-0 behind current Royal Jeff Francis, as he picked up his first win of 2010 by going 6.1 innings and allowing just five hits. Seth Smith and Miguel Olivo each had two hits for Colorado, and Troy Tulowitzki homered.
The Rox took the finale 11-7, evening their record at .500 for the season. Tulowitzki homered for the second straight game, and Jason Giambi hit a big three-run shot off of Zack Greinke that gave the Rockies a lead that they, as much as they tried, would not relinquish. Colroado pounded Greinke to the tune of eight runs on nine hits in 3.1 innings, jumping out to an 8-0 lead that ended up not being easy to hold on to. Billy Butler and Mitch Maier are the only remaining Royals that did anything of note in this series, and both such performances came in this game as Butler was 4-for-5 with an RBI at the plate while Maier went 3-for-5 with two runs driven in.
Latest Series Results: W 2-1 vs. Chicago (NL), L 0-3 at San Diego
Despite holding their ground in last place in American League's Central division, the Royals aren't a terrible offensive ballclub. They boast four above-average regulars (counting Billy Butler, who may or may not be a starter in this series), and another couple on the bench. In addition, they have a couple of highly-touted young players who at least project to possess very good bats in the near future in Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas.
#4 / Left Field / Kansas City Royals
Feb 10, 1984
|2011 - Alex Gordon||.293||.363||.479|
The best thing the Royals have going for them offensively is the breakout of Alex Gordon, who prior to this season appeared as if he was going to crash and burn at the major league level. Instead, he has used a permanent transition to the outfield to as an opportunity to improve offensively, and he has done just that, accumulating a 3.1 WAR and 130 wRC+ thus far in 2011.
Meanwhile, Jeff Francoeur leads the team in home runs (though, predictably, NOT in on-base percentage) and Billy Butler continues to get on at a superb clip and has walked far more times (46) than he has struck out (37). Royals manager Ned Yost will have to find a way to get him into the lineup, but it won't be without consequence; Butler has posted a -14.2 UZR/150 in just 86 innings at first base this season. The gamble may be worth it though, as Hosmer (-9.5) has not been much better.
Pitching-wise, the Royals have had all sorts of problems. Their rotation, outside of Bruce Chen (111 ERA+ in nine starts) and Felipe Paulino (120 ERA+ in six starts), has been dreadful. To make matters worse, they recently decided to go with a six-man rotation, meaning they'll trot out four below-average starters instead of just three. On top of that, closer Joakim Soria has pitched like a shell of his former self (although the rest of the bullpen has been nails). His ERA+ in 2011 is 100 points lower than his career mark, and about 95 points lower than his previous career low (which was his rookie season). Plus, he has already blown five saves, which is more than he has blown in any full season in his career.
Friday through Sunday: 3-game series at Coors Field
Expected Pitching Matchups
Friday, July 1, 2011 @ 6:10 PM MT
|2011 - Danny Duffy||1-2||8||8||0||0||0||0||41.0||48||21||21||7||23||31||4.61||1.73|
|2011 - Juan Nicasio||2-1||6||6||0||0||0||0||33.2||39||20||19||6||8||26||5.08||1.40|
Saturday, July 2, 2011 @ 6:10 PM MT
|2011 - Kyle Davies||1-6||9||9||0||0||0||0||41.0||57||35||34||6||17||29||7.46||1.80|
|2011 - Jhoulys Chacin||8-5||17||16||1||1||0||0||104.2||77||39||36||14||43||92||3.10||1.15|
Sunday, July 3, 2011 @ 1:10 PM MT
|2011 - Luke Hochevar||5-8||17||17||0||0||0||0||110.2||112||65||61||15||32||53||4.96||1.30|
|2011 - Jason Hammel||4-7||16||16||0||0||0||0||100.2||100||51||45||9||38||51||4.02||1.37|
|2011 - Joakim Soria||4-3||33||0||0||0||13||5||34.0||31||17||16||4||12||31||4.24||1.26|
Kansas City Royals Injuries
|Player||Injury Type||Injury Date|