The Kansas City Royals are starting to get a bit nervous here as we are days away from August. A bit nervous is probably an understatement, with them quietly removing themselves from the postseason picture. The division suddenly looks like a two team race between the Tigers and Indians. There comes a time where you just have to say they aren’t going to hit that switch and turn things around. We are getting close to making that claim about the Royals. Going into last night, the Royals were on a three-game skid, and losers in six of their last seven games.
They have slipped to 48-51 and losing ground in each passing game. Needless to say, the Indians are for real and the Royals are fading. If the Royals don’t go a big run by mid-August, there are going to be some serious doubts about their ability to defend the World Series. Everybody seems content with what they accomplished a year ago. Impressive, but the Royals may not match the recent success of a team like the San Francisco Giants.
Last night, the Angels delivered yet another blow to the Royals, a 13-0 shellacking. The Royals are hoping it’s the wakeup call they need. However, the fact of the matter is that Mike Moustakas is a much better player than people want to give him credit for. He was the heart of the lineup, and with him out of it all season long there hasn’t been much heart. Would Moustakas have been the golden ticket for the Royals this season? Who knows, but I do know they would be above .500 at this point. Not to mention Lorenzo Cain was added to the DL a couple of weeks ago.
The ounce vaunted Royals’ pitching, notably the bullpen, has sprang a leak lately. In recent games, they’ve allowed 13, 6, 7, and 11 runs. The heart and desire hasn’t been there for me. Maybe they find it in August, but they better pick it up rather soon.
L.A. Angels vs. Kansas City Royals
Matt Shoemaker (5-10, 3.99 ERA) vs. Danny Duffy (6-1, 3.14 ERA)
Matt Shoemaker is being shopped around as trade bait to the rest of the league, with the Royals as potential suitors. A strong performance from Shoemaker would boost his trade value just a bit more for the Angels. For a team looking to make a run at it, Shoemaker presents himself as a viable option. He’s been pitching well at the right time for the Angels. In his past three outings, Shoemaker has looked good with an ERA of 2.18, including an impressive 0.92 WHIP and .241 OBA. Shoemaker will look to keep his good fortunes going against the Royals tonight. But it’s been everything but against the Royals over his career. In 10.2 innings pitched against Kansas City, he has gotten ripped for a 13.50 ERA and 2.91 WHIP. However, note we don’t have a big enough sample size to make a definite conclusion on Shoemaker against the Royals.
The Royals will counter Shoemaker with Danny Duffy. Duffy has emerged as the best pitcher in the rotation for the Royals. Probably is for him, he hasn’t been able to stay healthy over his career. When he does pitch though, there aren’t many faults to find in him. In four of his last five starts he’s allowed less than 3 runs. He owns a 3.14 ERA on the year, and a 3.26 ERA across his last three tilts. The Royals would be benefiting greatly with a healthy Moustakas and Cain. The offense has taken a dive. The absent of two heavy bats will leave a crater in a lineup. I see pitching ruling the night, lending itself to a play on the UNDER.
PICK: UNDER 8.5 RUNS (-120)