The Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves had Monday off to get ready for a short two-game interleague series at SunTrust Park. The Royals enter with a record of 37-64 to put them back by 24.5 games in the AL Central. They’re clearly in a rebuilding process, though, so there aren’t many surprises here. Winning a World Series in 2015 was well worth struggling now, though.
The Royals had a competitive team for a few seasons, which was something Royals’ fans hadn’t experienced since the 1980’s. Between then and their World Series, the only thing they had to be excited about was Carlos Beltran winning Rookie of the Year honors in 1999.
There isn’t much to be excited about at all for Royals’ fans in 2019. They can play spoiler and upset some teams down the stretch, but that’s about all. The Braves are a postseason team with a record of 60-41 going into Tuesday. They are the sole leaders of the NL East without anyone in sight.
The Nationals are the next closest competitor with a record of 52-46, which is good for 6.5 games back. Whoever finishes second in the NL East has a good chance at the wildcard, though. The Braves took a split against the Nationals over the weekend.
Atlanta finished off the series with a 7-1 win on Sunday Night Baseball. The Braves were pleased to get a standout performance by Kevin Gausman in that one. Gausman made his return to the bump after struggling badly earlier in the season.
If he can pitch like he did on Sunday night more consistently, the Braves immediately get a major lift. Newcomer to the Braves, Dallas Keuchel, will shoulder the load on the mound for the Braves this evening. Danny Duffy is scheduled to get the nod for the Royals. Head below for our free Royals vs. Braves pick.
K.C. Royals vs. Atlanta Braves Pick:
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It didn’t take much time for Dallas Keuchel to shake the rust off and get back into form. He waited and waited for the right contract and ultimately landed on the Braves. The Astros were not willing to bend for Keuchel and his contract demands, so he waited it out with Craig Kimbrel, who was signed as well. Keuchel has made six starts for the Braves and has done pretty well.
He goes into Tuesday with an ERA of 3.58 and 1.33 WHIP on the season. The veteran just had his first start in which he allowed more than 3 runs in an outing. That came against the Brewers on the road, a much better team than the Royals. And Keuchel has excelled in Atlanta, with a 2.51 ERA and 0.91 WHIP compared to a 4.24 ERA and 1.59 WHIP on the road.
The Royals are hitting .224 with 2 home runs against Keuchel in 67 at-bats. This lineup has some history against him when he was pitching in the American League with the ‘Stros. They’re not going to see him often now that he’s in the NL. Fellow lefty, Danny Duffy, will take the start in the front-end of this interleague series. He’s been trying to get his feet underneath himself on the road, as he’s struggled as a visiting pitcher.
Duffy has a 4.85 ERA, .349 OBA, and 1.45 WHIP on the road. Overall, the Royals have been a terrible team on the road with a record of 15-35. His numbers have been down a touch recently as well, with a 4.91 ERA, .397 OBA, and 1.64 WHIP in his previous three outings on the hill. The Braves likely ride momentum from Sunday night and cruise past the Royals in this one. Expect a 6-3 or 7-4 win for the Braves this evening at home.