Friday, June 21, 2024
Sports Betting Phenoms

MLB Preview: Oakland Athletics (8-26) at Kansas City Royals (8-26)


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STRANDED: The Royals suffered a 5-4 loss to the Athletics last night at Kauffman Stadium, clinching their eighth consecutive series loss, which matches a franchise record last done in 2008…the Royals trailed 5-1 in the 4th, when the first four batters reached to begin the frame, including a solo home run by Freddy Fermin, a double by Jackie Bradley Jr. and a 2-run home run by Bobby Witt Jr., which cut the deficit to 1 run…one baserunner was stranded later in the inning, which proved to be the theme of the night…the Royals stranded 15 baserunners in total, matching the highest single-game total in the Majors this season, while marking the most in a Royals game in five years, since Game 2 of the July 28, 2018 doubleheader at Yankee Stadium (15).

The Royals stranded multiple baserunners in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 7th, 8th and 9th innings last night, which means even just 1 more hit in any of those situations could’ve provided a different outcome in what was a 1-run loss…they went 2-for-13 with runners in scoring position, including 0-for-3 in the 9th with the tying run at second base…they recorded 6 hits through the 4th inning, but had just 1 hit after that.

In addition to their 7 hits, the Royals were plunked twice and drew 10 walks, their most in a game since April 26, 2022 at the White Sox, a 6-0 win in which they walked 11 times…last night marked just the 12th time in franchise history that the Royals lost a game in which they drew 10 or more walks, and the first in 16 years, since April 26, 2007 at Minnesota, where they drew 11 walks in a 1-0 loss to the Twins in 11.0 innings.

ROSTER MOVE: The Royals announced this morning that right-handed pitcher Max Castillo has been recalled from Triple-A Omaha…Castillo has made 5 starts with the Strom Chasers this season and most recently pitched last Tuesday vs. Louisville, allowing 5 runs on 6 hits and 3 walks in 5.1 innings, throwing 91 pitches.

Castillo, 24, was acquired at the 2023 Trade Deadline with Samad Taylor from Toronto for Whit Merrifield.

In a corresponding move, right hander Jonathan Heasley was optioned to Triple-A Omaha.

DINGER PARTY: The Royals have homered in a season-high 5 straight games to begin May—in which they’ve hit a total of 11 home runs—after homering in 14 of 29 games in March/April (20 HR total)…their 11 HR through 5 games this month lead the American League and rank 2nd in the Majors to the Braves, who have hit 16 HR in 7 games since the calendar flipped to May…of the Royals last 10 home runs, 5 have come with a man on base, after their previous 8 homers were solo shots, which was their longest run of solos within a season since 2019.

Royals catchers have hit 8 home runs this season, the most of any position on the team and the 2ndhighest total at the catcher position in the Majors, trailing the Braves, whose catchers have 9 home runs.

Salvador Perez is tied for the team lead with 6 homers, including 5 as a catcher…MJ Melendez has homered once as a catcher and Freddy Fermin has homered in his last 2 games, the 1st and 2nd of his career.

Bobby Witt Jr. has homered twice on this homestand and is tied with Salvy and Vinnie Pasquantino for the team lead with 6 HR, which is tied for 2nd most among all shortstops, trailing Bo Bichette (7).

WALK THIS WAY: After failing to draw a walk last Wednesday night for the third time this year, the Royals have gotten much more selective at the plate…last night they drew a season-high 10 walks, their most in a loss since April 26, 2007 at Minnesota…they’ve drawn at least 6 walks in 3 straight games, 1 game shy of the longest such run in club history and their longest since a 3-game streak with at least 6 walks from Aug. 3-5, 1995.

Michael Massey began the season with 31 strikeouts and no walks over his 1st 23 games, but he’s drawn 6 walks with only 4 strikeouts in his last 5 games, a stretch in which he owns a .524 on-base percentage.

GETTING OFFENSIVE: The Royals offense has flipped a switch over the last two-plus weeks, a 14-game stretch in which the Royals rank among the Major League leaders in several offensive categories…since April 22, the Royals lead the Majors with 6 triples, rank tied for 2nd with 56 extra-base hits, 3rd with 33 doubles, 6th with a .345 on-base percentage and .467 slugging percentage, 7th with a .271 batting average and .812 OPS and 8th with 72 runs, which averages out to 5.1 runs per game, 10th best in the Majors during that time.

The Royals have matched or out-hit their opponent in 8 of the last 14 games, but that hasn’t translated to wins, as they’re only 4-10 during that stretch, better only than the Mets (3-10) and Cardinals (2-12).

In 5 games since the calendar flipped to May, the Royals lead all 30 teams in slugging percentage (.597) and OPS (.986), rank tied for 2nd in HR (11) and extra-base hits (27), tied for 3rd in walks (25), 4th in batting average (.301) and 4th in runs per game (7.0)…despite the uptick in offense, they’re 1-4 in May.

Bobby Witt Jr. has scored a run in a career-best 7 straight games, a stretch in which he ranks 2nd in the Majors with 9 runs…he’s recorded a hit in all 4 of his games on this stay, in which he has 4 XBH and 5 RBI.

Vinnie Pasquantino walked twice last night to give him more walks (18) than strikeouts (17) for the season…in fact, he’s one of seven players since last season to record more walks than strikeouts (min. 400 PA), along with Juan Soto, Alex Bregman, Yandy Díaz, Alejandro Kirk, Steven Kwan and Luis Arraez.

Salvador Perez is tied for the team lead with 6 homers and leads the Royals with 18 RBI…over his last 10 games, he’s batting .395 (15-for-38) with 5 multi-hit efforts, 4 home runs and 11 RBI for a 1.204 OPS.

MJ Melendez is batting .273 with an .842 OPS in his last 12 games, after starting the year 10-for-67 (.149).

Maikel Garcia has hit in all 5 games since his recall last Tuesday, and is batting .368 (7-for-19) with 4 RBI.

Michael Massey started 6-for-52 (.115) but is batting .297 (11-for-37) with a .409 on-base percentage in his last 11 games since April 23, and reached safely last night a career-high-tying four times, including 2 walks.

ROYAL ON THE MEND: Left hander Daniel Lynch will have his rehab assignment transferred to Triple-A Omaha today, where he will start in the Storm Chasers 2:05 p.m. CT game vs. the Louisville Bats…Lynch, who was placed on the 15-day IL on March 30 with a left rotator cuff strain, made his 1st rehab start last Tuesday with Double-A Northwest Arkansas and allowed 2 runs on 4 hits and 1 walk over 2.1 innings, with 6 of his 7 outs coming via strikeout.

SERIES SPEAKING: Last night’s loss dropped the Royals to 1-10 in series play this season with their eighth consecutive series loss, which matches a franchise record, previously done from Aug. 4-31, 2008…last night’s defeat also clinched the Royals seventh consecutive series loss to the A’s at Kauffman Stadium since 2016, a stretch in which they’re 5-17 and have been outscored 171-90 (-81)…the Royals are seeking a win today to avoid what would be their fourth time being swept this season, following 0-3 series vs. Minnesota (March 30-April 2), vs. Atlanta (April 14-16) and vs. Texas (April 17-19).

PACE OF PLAY: The Royals have played 5 games so far on this season-long, 10-game homestand, and among them they’ve played their shortest game of the season and their 4 longest games of the season…last Tuesday’s 11-7 loss in 3 hours, 4 minutes was—at the time—Kansas City’s longest game of the year, and they followed that up with a 6-0 win in 1 hour and 59 minutes last Wednesday night to mark the 4th-shortest 9-inning game in the Majors this season and the fastest game at Kauffman Stadium in 16 years…last Thursday’s 13-10 game lasted 3 hours and 24 minutes to match the 4th-longest 9-inning game in the Majors this year, and last Friday night’s 12-8 loss checked in at 3 hours 11 minutes, which they topped last night with a 3:16 game time, their 2nd longest of the year…not surprisingly, the Royals two opponents to begin this homestand—Oakland and Baltimore— rank last (2:50) and 2nd-to-last (2:45) in average game time this season…the Royals, who began this homestand with the fastest average time in the Majors, are now averaging 2 hours, 35 minutes per game, a longer average than five other teams, including the Twins and Yankees, who lead at 2:33.

RYAN YARBROUGH (YAHR-bro) is making his 10th appearance (3rd start) of the season and 137th outing (62nd start) of his career tonight vs. the Athletics…he was originally selected by Seattle in the 4th round of the 2014 Draft out of Old Dominion University (Va.)—the same school that Matt Quatraro and Vinnie Pasquantino attended—and he signed a one-year contract with the Royals on Dec. 13, 2022.

HIGHS AND LOWS LEAD TO LOSS: In his 2nd start as a Royal, Ryan suffered his 4th loss of the season in Tuesday’s 11-7 defeat to the Orioles in Kansas City, in which he allowed 5 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in 3.2 innings, with a season-high 5 strikeouts… Yarbs began his outing by setting down the first 10 batters he faced, including 5 consecutive strikeouts to begin the game, which not only set a career high, but also tied a Royals franchise record, joining Brady Singer on Sept. 16, 2020 at Detroit and Gil Meche on June 21, 2008 vs. San Francisco…however, after he retired the 1st batter of the 4th inning (his 10th in a row), things completely unraveled as the next 8 hitters he faced reached base, including a double, home run, walk, single, single, walk, walk and single, and although one runner was caught stealing, the final hit he allowed was enough for Royals Manager Matt Quatraro, who pulled Yarbrough at 3.2 IP.

The 5 straight strikeouts set a career high for Yarbrough, after he entered with 39 career appearances (25 starts) with 5 total strikeouts. 2023, SO FAR: Ryan has appeared in 9 games (2 starts) for the Royals after signing as a free agent last offseason, and has allowed 17 runs on 24 hits and 7 walks in 20.2 innings, with 12 strikeouts…he had scoreless relief outings in 3 of his 1st 5 appearances with the Royals, but was charged with a season-high 4 runs in 2.1 innings on April 15 vs. Atlanta…following Kris Bubic’s season-ending injury, Yarbs was inserted as the long man for Opener Taylor Clarke on April 21 in Anaheim, where he allowed 2 runs in 4.0 innings…on the next turn in the rotation, Yarbrough got his 1st start, and allowed just 1 run over 4.0 innings on April 26 in Arizona…he began his 2nd start on Tuesday with 5 straight strikeouts, tying a Royals record to begin a game, but was then tagged for 5 runs on 5 hits and 3 walks in the 4th inning, ending his day

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