Series Preview in Blog: Kansas City Royals (4/11-4/13)

Since the Twins and Royals met last weekend, the Royals won their first home series of the season against the Yankees and remain in first place in the AL Central, a half game up on the White Sox. This is pretty unfamiliar territory for followers of the Royals, and they are starting to wonder, “Now what?”

The Royals have had an awful lot go right for them so far, but one of few complaints fans have is that patience seems to be lacking in the KC lineup. Sound familar? Through Wednesday night, the highest number of plate appearances per base on balls in the American league looks like this.

Most PA/BB in AL

  1. LA – 16.91
  2. KC – 15.89
  3. NY – 14.95
  4. MN – 13.91

Now combine that with the pitching staffs of the two teams:

Fewest BB/IP in AL

  1. MN – 0.14
  2. KC – 0.29
  3. TB – 0.33
  4. NY – 0.34

Now, a lot of that is because the low walk teams have played each other, but they’re at it again in this one, so expect some free swinging in the next three days.

Pitching Matchups:

Livan Hernandez v. Gil Meche

I’m really tired of hearing that our pitching staff is “led” by Livan Hernandez (see this, for example). All it takes is a little bit of research (or familiarity with a team that’s in your division) to know that he’s not the best pitcher in the rotation, right?

Boof Bonser v. Bret Tomko

Another rematch of the previous series. Bonser pitched well (3 R in 7 IP) but the Twins dropped the series finale despite chasing Tomko with 92 pitches in 5 shutout innings. Like Royals Authority says:

If I can get five innings of no-run ball from my number five starter, I’m going to be thrilled. Especially if the bullpen is going to continue to be lights out.

The bullpen has been another reason the Royals have been off to a good start. They had only allowed 2 earned runs in 22 innings with a 28:5 SO/BB ratio.

Nick Blackburn v. Brian Bannister

Neither of these young pitchers is known as a strikeout pitcher, but both of them have been putting up some numbers to start the season, Blackburn has 11K in 12IP, while Bannister picked up 10K in 12IP. In Bannister’s last start he faced another rookie, Phil Hughes, but his 5.00 ERA is more than twice as bad as Blackburn’s 2.25, so he may have his hands full in this one.

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