Wednesday, May 29, 2024
World Elite Syndicate

MLB Preview: Kansas City Royals (40-87) at Oakland Athletics (35-90)

KANSAS CITY ROYALS NOTES:

ABOUT LAST NIGHT: The Royals suffered a 6-4, walk-off loss last night at the Coliseum on a 2-run homer by former Royal Brent Rooker in the 9th inning…only two American League teams have fewer walk-off losses this season than the Royals, but half of Kansas City’s 4 such defeats have come in their last 14 games…trailing 4-2 in the 8th, the Royals rallied to tie the game and force a bottom of the 9th, when Dylan Coleman plunked the first batter and served up the walk-off homer to Rooker…the loss dropped Kansas City to 47 games under .500 (40-87) for the first time since Sept. 25, 2018, when they won to improve to 55-102 en route to a 58-104 season.

ROSTER MOVE: Following last night’s game, right hander Dylan Coleman was optioned to Triple-A Omaha.

Taking Coleman’s spot on the 26-man roster is Zack Greinke, who was reinstated from the 15-day Injured List today after missing the minimum days with right elbow soreness…Greinke, 39, last pitched on Aug. 6 in Philadelphia and allowed 5 runs in 4.0 innings, running his winless streak to 15 starts, in which he’s 0-8.

ON THE MEND: Nick Pratto went 0-for-2 with 2 walks on Sunday and played 7.0 innings at first base in his 4th rehab game with Triple-A Omaha…Pratto has missed the last 23 games on the Injured List with a left groin strain.

Brad Keller allowed 2 runs on 2 hits and 1 walk in the 7th inning on Sunday but was credited with the win in his 1st rehab appearance with Double-A Northwest Arkansas…he began this assignment with 2 outings in the Arizona Complex League and has been on the IL since May 19 with a right shoulder impingement.

Left hander Jake Brentz pitched a 1-2-3 inning with 2 strikeouts on Saturday in his 2nd rehab appearance in the Arizona Complex League, and today had his assignment transferred to Double-A Northwest Arkansas… Brentz last pitched in the Majors on April 29, 2022, after which he underwent Tommy John Surgery.

STARTING SOMETHING: Left hander Angel Zerpa (AHN-hel SAIR-pah) is making his 5th career start and 2nd of the season tonight, marking the fourth time in the last 6 games that the Royals are starting a southpaw pitcher… his most recent appearance came last Thursday vs. Seattle, when he allowed just 1 run on 5 hits in 4.0 innings as the starting pitcher, but did not factor into the decision of Kansas City’s 6-4 loss…he’s allowed 10 runs (9 ER) in 5 appearances (13.1 IP) with the Royals this season, after allowing 5 runs (2 ER) in 4 outings (16.0 IP) from 2021-21.

CLOSE CALLS: Last night’s 6-4 walk-off loss at the Coliseum marked Kansas City’s 9th straight game decided by 2 runs or fewer, a stretch in which 5 of those 9 games have been decided by 1 run…the Royals are 2-7 during this 9-game run, which matches the longest such streak in franchise history, done five times previously and most recently from June 18-27, 2014…it’s the longest active streak in the Majors and is 2 games shy of the longest streak in the Majors this season, which was an 11-game streak by the Phillies from July 24-Aug. 4.

The Royals are 21-37 (.362) in games decided by 2 runs or fewer, which is the 2nd-worst record in the Majors, ahead of San Diego (19-36)…they are 5-20 in games decided by exactly 2 runs, and their 20 such losses are their most since 2012 (22) and 3 more than the Padres for the most in the Majors this season.

The Royals haven’t played a game decided by more than 2 runs since Aug. 11 vs. St. Louis, when they won 12-8, and they haven’t lost a game decided by more than 2 runs since Aug. 7 at Boston, a 6-2 defeat… they’re 4-9 since they last lost by more than 2 runs, despite being outscored by 2 runs in those 13 games.

VS. ATHLETICS: The Royals are visiting Oakland this week after losing 2 of 3 to the A’s at Kauffman Stadium from May 5-7…they won 2 of 3 here at the Coliseum last August, which marked their first series win over the A’s in five years, since Aug. 14-17, 2017, snapping a run of six winless sets…despite that, the Royals are 10-21 vs. the Athletics since 2018 and 14-30 since 2016, a stretch in which they have lost four season series and split two others…last night’s loss clinched their seventh straight winless season series, as they can do no better than a split in 2023.

The Royals are 5-15 vs. American League West teams this season and have lost all six completed series.

BOBBY BASEBALL: Over Bobby Witt Jr.’s last 22 games—since his walk-off grand slam on July 28—he leads the Majors with 17 extra-base hits, 75 total bases, 29 RBI, a .415 bating average, .798 slugging percentage and 1.248 OPS…he ranks 2nd with 38 hits behind Julio Rodríguez (40), tied for 3rd with 9 stolen bases and 4th with 9 home runs, trailing only Pete Alonso (11), Matt Olson (11) and Cal Raleigh (10)…this 22-game run has seen him record 11 multi-hit efforts, 3 games with 4 hits, 2 grand slams, a 6-RBI game and an inside-the-park HR.

Witt Jr.’s HR last night was his 25th of the season, making him the fifth shortstop in Major League history to record at least 25 homers and 35 steals in a single season, and the first since Hanley Ramírez in 2007-08.

Of his 25 HR, 23 have come as a shortstop, which are 2 more than Jay Bell (1997) for the most in a single season by a Royals shortstop and are tied with Francisco Lindor for the most in the Majors this season.

Through 127 team games—and with 35 games left—Witt Jr. is on pace for 31 homers an 47 stolen bases, a combination that has been matched only twice in Major League history, by Eric Davis in 1987 (37/50) and Barry Bonds in 1990 (33/52) during his first National League MVP season…Witt Jr. is 5 HR shy of becoming the first player with 30 homers and 30 steals in Royals history, and he would be the Majors’ first primary shortstop to accomplish that feat since Florida’s Ramírez had 33 HR and 35 steals in 2008.

In 69 games since June 1, Witt Jr. is batting .324 with 15 HR and a .928 OPS, and leads the AL with 90 hits.

Witt Jr. ranks tied for 3rd in the Majors with 37 steals behind Ronald Acuña Jr. (56) and Esteury Ruiz (49).

His 13 Outs Above Average on defense are 2nd most among all players, trailing only Dansby Swanson (15).

THE RUNNING ROYALS: In 36 games since the All-Star break, the Royals lead the Majors with 48 steals (1.3 SB/game), which are 10 more than the Cubs and Nationals (38 each) and 17 more than the Mariners (31) for the American League lead…after stealing only 40 bags in 56 games through May, the Royals rank 2nd in the Majors and lead the American League with 84 steals in 71 games since June 1…for the season, they rank 4th in the Majors with 124 stolen bases, trailing only Cincinnati (141), Tampa Bay (130) and Arizona (125).

TONIGHT’S STARTERS: LHP ANGEL ZERPA (1-1, 6.08)
Zerpa is making his 6th appearance (2nd start) this year…last pitched on Thursday vs. the Mariners in Kansas City and allowed 1 run on 5 hits and 2 walks with 6 strikeouts and 2 hit batters in 4.0 innings.

Zerpa earned the win on Aug. 11 vs. the Cardinals, pitching as the bulk pitcher, marking his 1st victory since July 14, 2022 at Toronto, which was 1st career win…he allowed 5 runs (4 ER) over 4.0 innings.

Angel was recalled from Triple-A Aug. 1, where he has made 6 starts and posted a 4.73 ERA (14 ER in 26.2 IP) with 23 strikeouts…also made 3 appearances for Northwest Arkansas, where he allowed 1 earned run with 7 strikeouts in 8.0 innings.

Aug. 2 marked his 1st appearance in the Majors since July 26, 2022 vs. the Angels, when he pitched 4.0 innings and allowed 2 runs (1 ER), but left early with a right knee injury…he began 2023 on the 60-day Injured List and missed 91 games with left shoulder tendinopathy.

OAKLAND ATHLETICS NOTES:

No team release available.

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