HOUSTON ASTROS (22-39) VS KANSAS CITY ROYALS (25-32)
KAUFFMAN STADIUM IN KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI
After winning six straight road games, the Houston Astros returned to Minute Maid Park and lost two of three to the Baltimore Orioles. Despite the two losses, the Astros’ pitching rotation continued to impress, getting quality starts in all three games. If the offense could be more consistent, the Astros could still be on their winning streak. When they played the Royals on May 20th-22nd in Houston, the Astros were outscored 13-12 and still managed to take two of three.
After a hot start to the 2013 campaign, the Kansas City Royals had a forgettable month of May. The Royals were 8-20 for the month and lost all but two of their series during that time. After taking two of three from the Minnesota Twins, they now sit 6.5 games back of the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central. Be sure to keep your eye on the Royals’ All-Star leftfielder Alex Gordon. He’ll be hard to miss because he will be the best player on the field and will always be on base.
Jordan Lyles is a stud. I know I say this every time I do a series preview that has Lyles in it, but “if you take out that May 12th start versus the Rangers” then he is 3-0 with a 2.71 ERA. In his last start versus the Angels, he went 5.2 innings, allowed two runs and struck out five in a winning effort.
Despite his 2-6 record, James Shields has been one of the more dominant pitchers this season. He received a no-decision in his last start, throwing seven innings and allowing five hits and a run to the Rangers. He was a tough-luck loser versus the Astros on May 22nd, throwing seven innings, striking out seven and allowing just two runs.
Erik Bedard continued his recent success by pitching a season-high seven innings against the LA Angels on Monday. He allowed just one run on five hits and threw only 92 pitches. Since being promoted back to the rotation, Bedard is 1-0 with a 2.79 ERA in five starts.
Ervin Santana looks like he is having a bounce-back season. Santana struggled with the Angels in 2012, going 9-13 with a 5.16 ERA. His struggles led the Angels to believe that he was expendable, and I’m sure they’re wishing they had him right about now. In his last start, Santana threw seven shutout innings against the Rangers and got a no-decision.
After a disastrous May, Lucas Harrell started off June on the right foot. He lost the game, but ended up going seven innings and allowing just one earned run to the Orioles. Harrell has been much better on the road this season, going 2-2 with a 3.34 ERA in five starts, compared to his 6.15 ERA in eight home outings.
Luis Mendoza has failed to go beyond six innings in any of his nine starts this season. His last time out, Mendoza threw 4.1 innings and allowed three runs on seven hits. In four starts at Kauffman Stadium, Mendoza is 0-2 with a 8.05 ERA. I’m going to go ahead and call this one as my “lock” of the series–the Astros win!