Wednesday, May 29, 2024
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MLB Preview: Washington Nationals (21-29) at Kansas City Royals (15-36)

WASHINGTON NATIONALS NOTES:

OPPONENT – KANSAS CITY ROYALS
The Nationals and Royals play three times this season, all in KC…Andrés Machado made his Major League debut with the Royals in 2017…Nationals bullpen coach Ricky Bones pitched two seasons in Kansas City from 1997-98.

THE BOYS BATTLED
The Washington Nationals open a six-game road trip against the Kansas City Royals on Friday night…It is Washington’s first trip to Kansas City since May 2-4, 2016…Following this three-game series, Washington will travel to Los Angeles for a three-game series against the Dodgers.

  • Thanks to a five-run seventh inning that included seven consecutive hits at one point, the Nationals erased a 5-1 deficit to take the 6-5 lead on Thursday against the Padres…It was the fourth time this season the Nationals battled back from a four-run deficit in the seventh inning or later…Unfortunately, the Padres plated three runs in the ninth inning and the Nationals fell, 8-6, in the rubber match of the series.

STATUS CHECK
The Nationals have won three of the last five, eight of 17 and 12 of their last 24 games…They are 16-16 (.500) dating to April 21 at Minnesota.

  • Washington is 20-23 (.456) after losing six of seven games to start the season…That stretch included series against the Atlanta Braves (1-2) and Tampa Bay Rays (0-3) as well as a 1-0 loss to the Colorado Rockies on their Opening Day.
  • The Nationals are 9-6 (.600) at home since April 30 vs. Pittsburgh…This comes after going 2-11 at home to start the season.

STREAKIN’ LANE TRAIN
Lane Thomas has reached safely in a career-high 21 straight games and has hit safely in 19 of the 21…Thomas is hitting .337/.380/.636 with four doubles, a triple, six homers, 14 RBI, five walks, one hit by pitch, two stolen bases and 18 runs scored during this streak.

  • Thomas is tied for fifth in the National League with seven home runs during the month of May, while his .620 slugging percentage ranks 12th in the NL during the month.
  • On the season, Thomas ranks in the National League in runs scored (10th, 32), hits (10th, 55) and average (13th, .293).

CHASING 1,000
With 998 in hand, Corey Dickerson is two hits away from 1,000 for his career…When he collects hit No. 1,000, he will become the 12th player in Nationals history (2005-pres.) to record his 1,000th hit in a Nationals uniform, according to the Elias Sports Bureau…The last to do it was Brian Dozier in 2019.

  • Since returning from the Injured List, Dickerson is 6-for-17 (.353) with a double, homer, four RBI and four runs in six games.

JOEY HITS
Joey Meneses is fourth in the National League with 59 hits and his .298 batting average ranks seventh.

  • Meneses ranks second in Major League Baseball with 48 hits behind Freddie Freeman (49) since April 15…His .333 batting average since April 15th is tied for third in MLB.
  • He is hitting .358/.394/.493 with six doubles, one homer, 15 RBI, four walks and eight runs scored in his last 15 games.

STARTING PITCHER – #46 PATRICK CORBIN
Left-handed pitcher signed a six-year contract with the Nationals on Dec. 7, 2018…Was the winning pitcher in Game 7 of the 2019 World Series…Is a two-time National League All-Star (2018, 2013)… Has started at least 30 games for five consecutive full seasons (2017-19, 2021-22), joining Gerrit Cole as the only pitchers since 2017 to accomplish the feat.

LAST START
Earned his third win of the season on May 20 vs. Detroit…Allowed two earned runs on six hits with no walks and three strikeouts in 6.0 innings of work.

vs. KANSAS CITY
Faces the Kansas City Royals for the third time and the first time since 2019…In his only start against the Royals on July 7, 2019, he allowed five hits in 7.0 shutout innings and struck out 11.

DEUCES WILD
Corbin has allowed exactly two earned runs in each of his last four starts…He is 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA (8 ER/25.0 IP) with 13 strikeouts and one walk during this stretch.

RECENCY BIAS
Corbin has pitched to a 3.40 ERA (16 ER/42.1 IP) over his last seven starts…He has 25 strikeouts and just four walks over this stretch…He’s tossed at least 6.0 innings in six of the seven…He has not allowed more than three earned runs in any of those starts, making six quality starts.

DON’T WALK SIGN
Corbin ranks second in the National League with 1.60 walks per 9.0 innings…His 10 walks this season are tied for the fifth-fewest among Major League pitchers with at least 50.0 innings pitched.

THE SLIDE PIECE
Corbin’s signature slider has induced 55 swings and misses, the fourth-most of any left-handed pitcher behind Clayton Kershaw (97), Reid Detmers (73) and with Jesus Luzardo (59).

1,500 STRIKEOUTS
With a strikeout of Jonathan Schoop on May 20 vs. Detroit, Corbin recorded his 1,500th career strikeout…He became the fourth Nationals pitcher to record 1,500 strikeouts in a Nationals uniform, joining Stephen Strasburg (2019), Gio Gonzalez (2017) and Max Scherzer (2015) according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

  • Corbin ranks 20th among active pitchers with 1,500 strikeouts, behind Robbie Ray (1,505)…He is one of 231 players in baseball history with at least 1,500 strikeouts…Hall of Famers Satchel Paige (1,501) and Goose Gossage (1,502) are next on the list before Robbie Ray .

CAREFUL OVER THERE
Corbin is tied for fifth in Major League Baseball with two pickoffs already this year…He picked off three runners each of the past two seasons (2021-22) and his career-high for pickoffs in a season is four in 2019.

APPRECIATE THE SUPPORT, FELLAS Since joining the Nationals in 2019, Corbin is 29-3 with a 2.66 ERA in 37 starts when he throws at least 6.0 innings and receives at least three runs of support… The Nationals are 34-3 in those games.

KANSAS CITY ROYALS NOTES:

WEDNESDAY RECAP: The Royals suffered a 6-4 loss to the Tigers on Wednesday night at Kauffman Stadium in a game that was delayed 29 minutes due to rain…Zack Greinke lowered his ERA in 5 starts this month to 2.73 (8 ER in 26.1 IP), allowing just 1 run in 5.0 innings, a solo HR by Riley Greene in the top of the 4th… the offense promptly responded with the tying run in the bottom half, but stranded runners at the corners… missed opportunities proved to be a theme Wednesday night, as the Royals stranded nine baserunners and went 2-for-10 in scoring situations…they did score in the 7th, 8th and 9th, but it was too little, too late, as Zack Short had a pinch-hit, 3-run home run in the 6th off Josh Taylor and Jonathan Schoop had a 2-run double in the 8th off Nick Wittgren, who threw 45 pitches over 2.0 innings in his Royals debut.

ROSTER MOVE: Following Wednesday night’s game, the Royals optioned Nate Eaton to Triple-A Omaha… today, the Royals announced that outfielder Drew Waters has been returned from his rehab assignment and reinstated from the Injured List…Waters will make his season debut tonight, after suffering a strained left oblique during the first week of Spring Training…Waters began his rehab assignment with Triple-A Omaha on May 9, and went 1-for-22 in his 1st 6 games…but in his last 7 games, Waters went 16-for-30 (.600) with 5 doubles, 2 triples and 2 home runs for a whopping 1.633 OPS…he scored 12 runs in those 7 games and had three 4-hit efforts.

Waters will be the first switch hitter to appear in a game with the Royals this season.

JR. JOINS ELITES: Bobby Witt Jr. played in his 200th career game on Wednesday night and recorded his 100th career RBI on a sacrifice fly in the 9th inning…in doing so, he became the 11th player in the Live Ball Era (since 1920) to record at least 100 RBI and 40 stolen bases through 200 career games…he’s only the third player to reach those marks in the last 20 years, joining Mike Trout and Fernando Tatis Jr…Bobby’s 44 stolen bases are 2nd most by a Royal through 200 games, trailing only Adalberto Mondesi (64), and rank 3rd in the American League since the start of last season, trailing only Jorge Mateo (49) and Cedric Mullins (47).

He joins Mark Quinn as the only Royals with at least 100 RBI and 75 extra-base hits through 200 games.

RISPY BUSINESS: The Royals have struggled in scoring situations all season, ranking 27th among 30 teams with a .224 average…but those struggles have been especially worrisome since the start of the last road trip, a 12-game stretch in which the Royals are batting .177 (14-for-79) with runners in scoring position, and they’re just 5-for-38 (.132) with 18 strikeouts in 46 plate appearances over the last 6 games.

SALVY SPLASHES: Royals Captain Salvador Perez hit his team-leading 11th home run in the 1st inning Monday night, which are tied for 8th most in the American League, just 3 HR behind league leaders Aaron Judge and Adolis García (14 each)…of his team-best 11 home runs, 6 have either tied the game or given the Royals a lead.

Salvy has hit 8 home runs in 19 games this month, 2 behind former teammate Jorge Soler for the Majors lead…his 8 HR are 1 shy of the single-season club record for the month of May, set by Gary Gaetti in 1995.

Salvy has recorded at least 1 RBI in 14 of his last 24 games since April 24 (58.3%), a stretch in which his 21 RBI are just 3 shy of the Majors leaders…he ranks 2nd in the Majors since April 24 with a .677 slugging percentage, tied for 2nd with 9 HR, 6th with a 1.052 OPS and 9th with a .333 batting average (31-for-104).

Royals catchers have hit 13 HR this season—including 9 by Perez—which are the most of any position on the team and the highest total at the catcher position in the Majors, 2 more than the Braves catchers (11).

Salvy is the Royals all-time leader in Interleague play in HR (35) and RBI (106) and his 186 hits rank 2nd to Alex Gordon (210)…in 5 career games vs. the Nationals, he’s 5-for-17 (.294) with 1 HR and 5 RBI.

SOUTHPAW STORY: After a streak of 15 consecutive games vs. opposing right-handed starting pitchers, the Royals now find themselves being attacked from the other side, facing left-handed starters in 4 of 5 games…they are only 3-8 vs. southpaw starters this season, and their win vs. Detroit’s Eduardo Rodriguez on Tuesday night was their 1st in a game vs. an opposing southpaw since April 22 against the Angels Tyler Anderson…the Royals lost Wednesday night, a game started by Detroit’s Matthew Boyd, and are scheduled to face southpaws Patrick Corbin tonight and MacKenzie Gore in the homestand finale on Sunday…the Royals lost Corbin’s only previous start vs. them in 2019, and he’s recorded 9.2 scoreless innings in his 2 appearances vs. Kansas City, including a 2.2-inning relief appearance in 2017 with the Diamondbacks.

Maikel Garcia is 8-for-19 (.421) vs. southpaws since his May 2 recall, including 5 hits in the last 2 games.

Left-handed batters Michael Massey and Nick Pratto have fared well vs. left-handed pitching, batting .360 (9-for-25) and .300 (6-for-20), respectively…in fact, Massey’s .360 average vs. southpaws is the 2nd best among all left-handed batters (min. 25 AB), trailing only Anthony Rizzo, who’s batting .419 (18-for-43).

Tonight’s starter Jordan Lyles had a 2-run single off Corbin in a 10-6 win on Sept. 8, 2017 with the Padres.

VS. NATIONALS: The Royals are hosting the Washington Nationals this weekend for just the second time and first since 2016…the Royals are 5-13 (.278) all-time vs. the Nationals—and have gone winless in six series—which is their worst mark against any opponent…that includes a 4-8 record since they moved to Washington in 2005.

The Nats won 2 of 3 games in their last meeting with Kansas City from July 5-7, 2019 at Nationals Park, a year in which Washington won the World Series in 7 games over the Astros…the Royals won that series opener on July 5 with a 7-4 victory in 11 innings, a game that lasted 4 hours, 40 minutes and saw 14 different pitchers…but the Royals scored a total of 2 runs over the next 2 games, as Max Scherzer and tonight’s starter, Patrick Corbin both recorded 7.0 scoreless innings with 11 strikeouts in the last 2 games of the series.

The Royals are 5-10 vs. National League teams this season, including wins in their last 2 Interleague games last week in San Diego vs. the Padres.

GETTING AHEAD: The Royals have held a lead in 16 of their 22 games in the month of May, but they’re only 8-14 this month with 8 blown lead losses…the only games this month in which they haven’t held a lead were May 5 vs. Baltimore, when they trailed 9-2, cut the deficit to 9-8, but lost 12-8; May 12 at Milwaukee, a 5-1 loss; May 15 in San Diego, a 4-0 loss; a week ago tonight in Chicago, where they were blanked in a 2-0 loss to the White Sox; Monday night vs. Detroit, a game in which they forced extra innings but lost, 8-5; and Wednesday night’s 6-4 defeat vs. the Tigers.

For the season, the Royals 16 blown lead losses are tied for the 4th most in the Majors, trailing the Athletics (19), Guardians (17) and White Sox (17).

The Royals 8 wins in 22 games in May are already 1 more than the 7 wins they had in 29 games in March/April. HOME: The Royals continue a 6-game homestand tonight with the 1st of 3 games vs. the Nationals, who are visiting Kansas City for the first time since 2016…Monday night began a stretch in which the Royals are playing 9 of 11 games at home, with the only exceptions being a 2-game set in St. Louis next week…that will continue a run of four consecutive series vs. National League opponents, including a 3-game stay vs. the Rockies next weekend and 3 games in Miami as part of a 6-game trip to begin the first week of June…following the 2-game trip to St. Louis next Monday and Tuesday, the Royals will enjoy back-to-back off days next Wednesday and Thursday, their first scheduled back-to-back off days since April 6-7, 2016.

The Royals are 7-19 at Kauffman Stadium this season, but have won 5 of their last 8 games here after starting 2-16.

TONIGHT’S STARTERS: RHP JORDAN LYLES (0-8, 7.15 ERA)
JORDAN LYLES is making his 11th start of the season and 332nd appearance (225th start) of his career tonight vs. the Nationals…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.

LAST START: Jordan was within 3 outs of a quality start last Saturday, but lost his command to begin the 6th inning and failed to record an out, resulting in a final line of 5.0 innings pitched, 5 runs (4 earned) on 4 hits and 3 walks with 5 strikeouts in a 5-1 Royals loss to the White Sox at Guaranteed Rate Field in Chicago, extending his career-long losing streak to 8 games (10 starts)…after being spotted a 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st on a Salvador Perez home run—for the 2nd consecutive start—Lyles surrendered the lead on 3 consecutive 1-out hits in the bottom half, punctuated by a single from Yoán Moncada…from that point on, he went on to retire 13 of the next 15 batters he faced, working around a 2-out single in the 4th inning by Jake Burger and a 1-out walk in the 5th by Seby Zavala that was wiped away by a double play from Tim Anderson…in the 6th inning, Andrew Benintendi walked before Luis Robert Jr. reached on a catcher’s interference, and Lyles then walked Moncada to load the bases, prompting Manager Matt Quatraro to summon Jose Cuas to dance out of the jam…however, after striking out Andrew Vaughn, Burger slapped a triple into the right-center field gap, plating all 3 runs that would be charged to Lyles’ final line.

Lyles did not allow a home run, snapping a 6-game streak of allowing at least 1 home run, in which he allowed 12 of his 14 home runs this season…despite that, his 14 HR in 56.2 innings (2.2 HR/9) match Yusei Kikuchi & Julio Urías for the most in the Majors, and he’s allowed multiple homers in 6 of his 10 starts.

The Royals are 0-10 in games started by Lyles this season, and he has set a new career high with an 8-game losing streak (across 10 starts) since his most recent win in his final start of 2022, a 2-1 victory at Yankee Stadium with the Orioles.

GOING THE DISTANCE: Jordan gave the Royals all he had 3 starts ago vs. the White Sox on May 9 in Kansas City, where he allowed 4 runs on 6 hits in a 4-2 complete game loss to 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 in the 6th, but the Royals answered with a run in the bottom half on Pasquantino’s RBI single to cut the deficit to 3-2… the Sox plated their final run in the 7th on a 2-out RBI single by Seby Zavala.

It was his 3rd career complete game—all 9.0 innings—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…Lyles was 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.

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

ON STRIKE: Jordan didn’t walk a batter in his complete game loss on May 9 vs. the White Sox, and his career BB% is 7.7%…he’s improved in that category with age, as his BB% of 7.1% since the start of 2021 ranks 3rd in the AL (min. 400.0 IP), behind only José Berríos (5.8%) and Gerrit Cole (6.3%).

READY FROM THE JUMP: Despite ranking 28th in the American League in 1st pitch strikes (60.9%), opponents have swung at 34.3% of his 1st pitches, 13th-most in the AL…in 0-0 counts, opponents are slashing .417/.395/.917 (15-for-36, 1.311 OPS) with 9 extra-base hits (4 home runs)…the 1.311 OPS is his 3rd-highest of any pitch, behind 3-0 counts (2.800 OPS, 1-for-2 with 1 home run) and 3-1 counts (3-for-9 with 1 home run, 2 doubles).

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 415.2 innings rank 3rd among American League pitchers behind only Gerrit Cole (449.2 IP) and José Berríos (423.2 IP).

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 331 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).

FROM THE COMFORT OF YOUR OWN 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 163 appearances (114 starts) on the road, he’s 30-57 (.345) with a 5.62 ERA (420 ER in 673.0 IP)…in 2022 while pitching for the Orioles, Lyles pitched extremely well while in Camden Yards, pitching to a 3.47 ERA (32 ER in 83.0 IP) across 14 starts, but was hit hard on the road, where he was hit to the tune of a 5.25 ERA (56 ER in 96.0 IP) in 18 starts.

Although he’s just starting to call The K “home,” he’s looking to change course here, as he’s 1-5 in 8 starts with a 5.15 ERA (29 ER in 50.2 IP) here.

World Elite Syndicate

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