Friday, June 2, 2023

MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals (12-29) at Milwaukee Brewers (22-17)


WALKED OFF IN WISCONSIN: The Royals suffered a 4-3, walk-off loss to the Brewers last night, falling to 0-2 on this 9-game, 10-day road trip…the offense pounded out 8 hits in 4.0 innings vs. Brewers starter Adrian Houser, including a tie-breaking, solo home run by Salvador Perez to begin the 5th inning…two batters later, Nick Pratto doubled for the second time in the game, but was stranded at third, and the Royals were held hitless over the final 4.0 innings…Christian Yelich tied the game with a solo home run in the 6th—his 2nd HR of the game—and it remained tied until the 9th inning, when Carlos Hernández allowed a leadoff single and a 1-out double, which set runners at 2nd and 3rd for Joey Wiemer, who won the game on a sacrifice fly. GRE1NKE: Zack Greinke allowed just 2 runs on 3 hits and no walks in 5.0 innings last night and exited with a 3-2 lead…his night ended on a called third strike of Joey Wiemer, which marked the 1,000th different batter Zack has struck out in his 20-year career…he’s the fifth pitcher in Major League history, according to Kenny Jackelen of Baseball Reference, to fan 1,000 different batters, joining Nolan Ryan, Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux and Roger Clemens…Wiemer, 24, was 5 years old when Greinke made his Major League debut in 2004.

Among the 1,000 different batters Zack has struck out includes Hall of Famers Chipper Jones, Frank Thomas, Scott Rolen, Derek Jeter, Iván Rodríguez, David Ortiz and Jim Thome…he’s fanned 10 sets of brothers, one father/son duo—Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and Jr.—and six current big league Managers, including Rocco Baldelli, Aaron Boone, Craig Counsell, Mark Kotsay, Phil Nevin and Skip Schumaker.

FOR THE MOMS: The Royals are 28-27 all-time on Mother’s Day, including 1 win and 1 loss last year in a traditional doubleheader split in Baltimore…their win in Game 1 of last year’s doubleheader was their 1st on Mother’s Day since 2017 vs. Baltimore…this year, the Royals are playing the Brewers on Mother’s Day for the fourth time… the Royals beat the Brew Crew on Mom’s Day in 1975 and 1991, but lost to them on this holiday in 1988.

SERIES SPEAKING: Last night’s loss clinched the Royals fifth consecutive road series loss…after winning 2 of 3 games in San Francisco from April 7-9, the Royals have since lost 2 of 3 in Texas, Anaheim and Arizona, and 3 of 4 in Minnesota…the Royals are now 2-11 in series play overall, including eight consecutive series losses from April 10-May 7, which matched a franchise record previously done from Aug. 4-31, 2008…the Royals are hoping to salvage today’s series finale in Milwaukee to avoid what would mark their fourth time being swept this season…their previous three sweeps have come at the hands of Minnesota, Atlanta and Texas, all at home.

DINGER PARTY: The Royals have homered in 12 consecutive games to begin the month of May, after homering in 14 of 29 games in March/April (20 HR total)…it’s the longest active streak in the Majors, and only three teams have a longer streak this season: the Rays, who homered in each of their 1st 22 games to begin the season, the Twins, who homered in 18 straight games from April 18-May 6 and the Cubs, who went deep in 13 straight from April 19-May 2…this run of 12 straight games with a HR matches the 2nd-longest streak in franchise history—last done in 1985—and trails only a club-record 15-game homer streak from April 6-22, 2001.

The Royals have hit 20 homers in 12 games in May, matching their HR total from 29 games in March/April.

Their 20 homers in May are tied for 2nd most in the Majors, trailing only the Yankees (23)…of the Royals 20 HR in May, a Majors-most 15 have traveled at least 400 ft., 3 more than the Braves and Cardinals (12 each) for the most in the Majors and 4 more than the Rays (11) for the most among American League teams.

Royals catchers have hit 11 home runs this season, the most of any position on the team and the highest total at the catcher position in the Majors, 2 more than the Braves and A’s, whose catchers have 9 HR.

Salvador Perez leads the Royals with 8 home runs, including 7 as a catcher…MJ Melendez has homered once as a catcher and Freddy Fermin has 3 HR in 8 games (5 starts) as a catcher since his May 2 recall.

MAY FLOWERS: Despite being held to 4 runs on 12 hits through the 1st 2 games of this series, the Royals offense has blossomed in the month of May, in which they lead the Majors in extra-base hits (51) and slugging percentage (.506) and rank 2nd in OPS (.853), runs per game (5.9), tied for 2nd in HR (20), 3rd in on-base percentage (.347) and 5th in batting average (.275)…this 12-game run comes on the heels of an unfortunate stretch in March/April, in which the Royals ranked 24th in the Majors in runs per game and 30th in OPS (.624).

Freddy Fermin is out to prove that his Most Valuable Player performance in the Venezuelan Winter League last offseason was no fluke, as he’s batting .400 (8-for-20) in 8 games (5 starts) with the Royals since his May 2 recall with 1 triple, 3 HR and 5 RBI, for a 1.405 OPS…his 3 home runs have averaged 421 ft.

In 15 games since his April 28 recall, Nick Pratto is batting .380 (19-for-50) with 7 XBH and 13 RBI, which are tied with Salvador Perez, Andrew Vaughn and Luis Robert Jr. for the most in the AL during that time.

Michael Massey has hit safely in each of his last 8 starts, and over his last 17 games dating back to April 23, he’s batting .327 (18-for-55) with an .879 OPS, after starting the season 6-for-52 with 21 strikeouts. Ê MJ Melendez has reached safely in a career-high-tying 13 straight games and has a hit in 11 of those, a stretch in which he’s batting .298 (14-for-47) with 6 XBH, 8 RBI and an .857 OPS, after starting 15-for-90.

Vinnie Pasquantino has reached safely in 56 of his last 60 games dating back to Sept. 15, 2022, a stretch in which he’s slashing .318/.407/.511 with a .918 OPS…on Friday night, he became the first player in the Majors this season with at least 20 walks and 20 extra-base hits, and has since been joined by Freddie Freeman.

Salvy returned to the lineup last night after missing 2 games due to blurry vision, and went 2-for-4 with a go-ahead HR…it was his 70th career go-ahead HR, breaking a tie with Frank White for 2nd most in Royals history, trailing only George Brett (118)…in his last 15 games since April 24, Salvy has 6 HR and 15 RBI and leads Major League Baseball in batting average (.400), slugging percentage (.772) and OPS (1.226).

VS. BREWERS: The Royals and Brewers are meeting this weekend for the first time since 2021, when the Royals swept a 2-game series in Kansas City and a 2-game series in Milwaukee…despite losing the 1st 2 games this weekend, the Royals are 218-180 (.548) all-time vs. Milwaukee, which is their best record against any team they’ve played at least 50 games…that includes a 20-18 record (.526) vs. the Brewers since they joined the NL in 1998.

The Royals are hoping to avoid their first sweep to the Brewers since Sept. 18-20, 2020 here in Milwaukee.

The Royals are 3-8 in Interleague play, including 3-5 in National League ballparks…starting this weekend, six of the Royals next eight opponents are National League teams, including their next stop on this trip, which begins tomorrow night in San Diego…the Royals will host the Nationals on the next homestand for the first time since 2016, before playing the Cardinals, Rockies and Marlins in three consecutive series

start) of his career today vs. the Brewers…he was originally selected by Houston in the 1st round (38th overall) of the 2008 Draft out of Hartsville High School (S.C.), and signed a two-year contract with the Royals on Dec. 28, 2022.

LYLES GOES THE DISTANCE, OFFENSE FALLS SHORT: Jordan gave the Royals all he had last time out on Tuesday night against the White Sox, as he allowed 4 runs on 6 hits with 6 strikeouts and no walks in a complete game loss, as the Royals only mustered 2 runs of support off White Sox pitching, led by Lucas Giolito…after jumping out to an early 1-0 lead, courtesy of a Vinnie Pasquantino solo home run in the 1st, Lyles and Giolito traded zeros through the 3rd inning, but Luis Robert Jr. tagged Lyles for a 2-out, game-tying solo shot in the 4th…after a scoreless 5th frame, the Sox plated a pair on a 2-run shot by Andrew Vaughn, giving Chicago a 3-1 lead, but the Royals answered with a run in the bottom half, as Bobby Witt Jr. tripled to lead off the inning, and Pasquantino blooped a single to left field to drive him in…the Sox plated their final run in the 7th on a 2-out RBI single by Seby Zavala.

He recorded his 3rd career complete game, following Sept. 21, 2022 vs. Detroit (with Baltimore) and Sept. 30, 2012 at Milwaukee (with Houston).

It was the 1st 9.0-inning complete game by a Royal since Brad Keller’s shutout on Sept. 13, 2020 vs. Pittsburgh.

He became the first Royal to suffer a loss in a complete game since Keller on July 1, 2018 at Seattle (8.0 IP), and the first to do it in 9.0 innings since James Shields on April 13, 2013 vs. Toronto.

Became the first Royal to complete 9.0 innings and not allow a walk since Jakob Junis did it five years ago, on Aug. 28, 2018 vs. Detroit.

He’s allowed a Major League-most 13 home runs in 49.1 innings (2.4 HR/9) this season, including multiple home runs in 6 of his 8 starts.

The Royals are 0-8 in games started by Lyles, and he has tied a career high with a 6-game losing streak (across 8 starts) since his most recent win in his final start of 2022, a 2-1 win at Yankee Stadium with the O’s.

ON STRIKE: Jordan didn’t walk a single batter in his complete game loss last time out, and his career BB% is now 7.6%…he’s improved in that category with age, as his BB% of 7.0% since the start of 2021 ranks 4th in the American League (min. 65 starts), trailing only Cole Irvin (5.5%), José Berríos (5.8%) and Gerrit Cole (6.2%).

WORKHORSE: The Royals are the eighth club Lyles has pitched for in the Majors during his 13-year big league career that has included stops with Houston (2011-13), Colorado (2014-17), San Diego (2017-18), Milwaukee (2018-19), Pittsburgh (2019), Texas (2020-21), Baltimore (2022) and Kansas City (2023)…since the beginning of 2021, his 408.1 innings rank 3rd among American League pitchers behind only Gerrit Cole (438.2 IP) and José Berríos (410.0 IP), including a career-high 180.0 innings with Texas in 2021.

He was one of only four American League pitchers to record at least 175.0 innings from 2021-2022, along with Cole, Cole Irvin and Robbie Ray.

Across his 13 seasons and 329 Major League appearances, he has only been placed on the Injured List on five occasions: June 10-29, 2019 (left
hamstring tightness), March 28-April 4, 2019 (right side discomfort), June 24-July 29, 2018 (right elbow inflammation), June 1-end of season, 2015 (sprained left big toe) and June 5-Aug. 6, 2014 (fractured left hand).

FRIENDS TURNED FOES: Jordan is 3-5 with a 4.13 ERA (32 ER in 69.2 IP) in 15 games (10 starts) vs. the Brewers, but hasn’t faced them since
tune 29, 2019, when he took the loss as a member of the Pirates despite registering a quality start (6.0 IP, 3 ER, 5 H, 5 K)…Lyles enjoyed parts of two seasons in Milwaukee form 2018-19, where he went 8-1 with a 2.64 ERA (22 ER in 75.0 IP) and 78 strikeouts in 22 games (11 starts)…among pitchers who have made at least 10 starts for the Brewers franchise, his 2.64 ERA ranks 2nd, behind only CC Sabathia, who posted a 1.65 ERA (24 ER in 130.2 IP) across 17 starts for Milwaukee in their 2008 season that saw them reach the NL Division series, managed by Royals Hall of Famer Ned Yost.

Today will mark Jordan’s first appearance in American Family Field since he finished the 2019 campaign with the Brewers.

He is 6-4 with a 2.95 lifetime ERA (25 ER in 76.1 IP) at American Family Field, and is riding a 3-game, 4-start win streak here since Aug. 23, 2019.

Opposed Colin Rea once, on April 8, 2016 with Colorado, and he took the loss after allowing 5 runs on 6 hits in 3.1 innings of work…Rea faced Lyles twice at the plate, going 0-for-1 with a walk and a run scored, while Lyles went 0-for-1 with a strikeout against Rea, who was pitching for San Diego.

FAR FROM HOME: Over the course of his 13-year career, Lyles has fared better when pitching in front of his home fans, going 36-41 (.468) with a 4.78 ERA (377 ER in 710.0 IP) in 168 appearances…in 161 appearances (112 starts) on the road, he’s 30-55 (.353) with a 5.53 ERA (409 ER in 665.2 IP)…in 2022 while pitching for the Orioles, Lyles pitched extremely well at Camden Yards, with a 3.47 ERA (32 ER in 83.0 IP) across 14 starts…was hit hard last year on the road, where he posted a 5.25 ERA (56 ER in 96.0 IP) in 18 starts, but he did go 7-8 and only 10 AL pitchers had more road wins.


TODAY’S GAME: Is game 6 (3-2) of a 6-game, 7-day homestand against Los Angeles-NL (1-2) and Kansas City (2-0)…..following this homestand, the team takes a 6-game, 7-day trip to St. Louis (3g) and Tampa Bay (3g).

IN THE TRAINER’S ROOM: RHP Jason Alexander (right rotator cuff), LHP Aaron Ashby (left labrum), RHP Matt Bush (right rotator cuff), OF Garrett Mitchell (left shoulder), INF Luis Urías (left hamstring), LHP Justin Wilson (left elbow) and RHP Brandon Woodruff (right shoulder) are on the injured list…..Alexander, Ashby, Mitchell, Urías and Wilson are on the 60-day IL.

IN THE STANDINGS (45 days): The Brewers have spent the following number of days alone or tied at each position in the NL Central standings: FIRST: 24, SECOND: 19, THIRD: 2, FOURTH: 0, FIFTH: 0…..the team is currently in first place, leading the second-place Pirates by 1.5 games.

SERIES-LY SPEAKING: The Brewers are 7-6-0 in series play, including this series.
Game 1: 7-6, Game 2: 8-5, Game 3: 6-6, Game 4: 1-0
Sweep Wins (2): vs. NYM (3g, 4/3-4/5), at SEA (3g, 4/17-4/19)
Sweep Losses (1): at COL (3g, 5/2-5/4)

AT HOME: The Brewers are 12-8 at home, going 4-3-0 in series play, including this series…..the team went 46-35 at home last season, going 15-8-4 in series play.

ON THE ROAD: The Brewers are 10-9 on the road, going 3-3-0 in series play…..the team went 40-41 on the road last season, going 9-12-5 in series play.

LET’S GO TO THE VIDEO TAPE: The Brewers have made six replay challenges this season, going 3-3…..their last challenge (won) came Friday vs. Kansas City as a swing by Willy Adames was overturned to catcher’s interference.

TODAY’S STARTER: #48 – RHP COLIN REA (6g, 5gs, 0-3, 4.94)
REA AT A GLANCE: Colin Rea, 32, will be making his seventh appearance and sixth start of the 2023 season…..Rea last pitched on Wednesday vs. Los Angeles-NL in relief (0.2ip, 2h, 1r, 1er, 2bb, 0k, 1wp)…..the team is 2-3 in his starts…..he has 1 quality start…..opponents are batting .216 (21-for-97, 5hr)…..Rea joined the Brewers from Triple-A Nashville, where he was 0-0 with a 0.00 ERA in 2 starts (7ip, 6h, 2r, 0er, 0bb, 9k)…..after pitching in Japan in 2022, he re-signed with Milwaukee on January 27 (non-roster invitee)…..his name is pronounced “RAY.”

LAST SEASON: Rea pitched in Japan, where he went 5-6 with a 3.96 ERA in 23 games/16 starts with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.

CAREER: Is 8-11 with a 4.90 ERA in 42 games/32 starts (181.2ip, 99er)…..has pitched for San Diego (2015-16), Miami (2016), Chicago-NL (2020) and Milwaukee (2021, ‘23)….. is 7-11 with a 4.90 ERA as a starter (165.1ip, 90er) and 1-0 with a 4.96 ERA as a reliever (16.1ip, 9er)…..Rea was originally selected by San Diego in the 12th round of the 2011 First-Year Player Draft out of Indiana State University…..he underwent “Tommy John” surgery on 11/11/16, causing him to miss the entire 2017 season…..he was named 2019 Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Year after going 14-4 with a 3.95 ERA in 26 starts at Triple-A Iowa (Cubs).

CAREER AT AMERICAN FAMILY FIELD: Is 0-2 with a 5.91 ERA in 3 games/2 starts, all coming this season (10.2ip, 7er).

CAREER ON THE ROAD: Is 3-5 with a 5.12 ERA in 19 games/12 starts (77.1ip, 44er)… 0-1 with a 4.32 ERA in 3 starts this season (16.2ip, 8er).

CAREER vs. ROYALS: His only career outing against Kansas City came with the Cubs on 8/5/20 at Kauffman Stadium (1ip, 2k)…..he pitched the ninth inning of a 6-1 win

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