The Royals return home after a topsy-turvy few days in Detroit. They lost a couple and picked up a 8-2 win, yesterday a lifeless 7-3 loss to Michael Fulmer. Fulmer made them look like fools, until around the 9th inning and his arm was shot. Fulmer was pulled with 2 outs, much to the chagrin of the crowd in attendance at Comerica. Nonetheless, the moral of the story is that the Royals were ripped on Thursday afternoon. They didn’t even really threaten in the least until the 9th.
K.C. will embark on another divisional battle this weekend against the Minnesota Twins. The Twins aren’t going away, they are playing the role of a pesky fly annoying the Indians at the moment. Nevertheless, the Indians have a 1.5 game lead after the Twins did a good job of coughing it away. The Royals are right there as well, fighting to regain control of the division they once ruled. It might feel like they’re much further back, but they’re only 3.5 games out.
Efforts like yesterday aren’t going to help the Royals any. They enter Friday with a record of 38-39. 3.5 games back? Not bad for a team who falls under .500. In the Royals’ corner this season is Mike Moustakas. Moustakas pretty well missed all of last season due to injury.
He played a pivotal role in their World Series and left a crater sized hole in the lineup a year ago. Moustakas is back and performing better than ever with 20 deep balls and a BA of .271. Note that his previous career-high for home runs was 22 in 2015. The pitching has not been up to par, though, and it’s the downfall of their cause this year.
Jason Vargas will get the call for the Royals tonight. He’s been battling injuries the last couple of years and hasn’t pitched fulltime since 2014, where he etched out a 3.71 ERA. The Twins counter with Ervin Santana on Friday. Get our free Twins vs. Royals pick below.
Minnesota Twins vs. K.C. Royals Pick
Ervin Santana (10-4, 2.80 ERA) vs. Jason Vargas (11-3, 2.29 ERA)
Vargas has been most certainly making up for lost time lately. He’s on pace for his best year at the major league level, entering Friday with an ERA of 2.29 and 1.13 WHIP. He has one trouble spot on his resume this season, which came against the Yankees on May 17th. Other than that, Vargas hasn’t allowed more than 3 runs in a single start.
His numbers have been fantastic at home in Kansas City, too. Note that he holds a 1.92 ERA and 1.06 WHIP. Other than the Yankee game, he hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs at home. In fact, in five out of seven starts, he surrendered 1 or no runs.
Likewise, Santana has been a force for the Twins as well this season. He’s found a home on the road, so to speak. Santana possesses a 1.50 ERA on the road with a 0.94 WHIP. However, he has been sporadic of late. His ERA is 6.19 in his last three starts, including a 1.94 WHIP and .402 OBA. Santana also allowed 28 hits in those starts. Eric Hosmer has done a number on this guy, belting 3 deep balls in 28 at-bats. The Twins have had difficulties against lefties recently, hitting just .195 in their last five. I can see the Royals getting back into a groove on Friday night at home. Edge to the Royals in K.C. tonight.
PICK: ROYALS (-115)