Kansas City Royals: Looking Ahead to the Rays and Red Sox
The Kansas City Royals did two things for the first time since 2003 this weekend. First, they swept the Chicago White Sox. More importantly, they moved into sole possession of third-place in the AL Central.
Nice weekend Kansas City!
Now, to the business of maintaining the momentum the Royals have gathered over the last 12 games. During this stretch, the Royals are 9-3 and have taken five of six from the first-place White Sox and two of three from the suddenly relevant Oakland A’s.
The Royals have done it by bringing together all three phases.
Led by their resurgent pitching staff that has thrown six quality starts in a row and has an ERA of 1.94 over the past week, the Royals are flat out playing an extended period of solid baseball.
The pitching is the key and manager Ned Yost knows this.
Yost told Blair Kerkhoff of the Kansas City Star Sunday that the Royals are “going to be good when we get reliable starting pitching. There’s no way around that.” They are getting “reliable starting pitching” and the results are self-evident.
That said, the pitching needs to say hot with a seven-game road trip looming. Beginning Monday, the Royals travel to Tampa for a three game series with the Rays and then go to Boston for a wrap-around series with the Red Sox.
The Rays have been on fire, winning eight games on their recent 10-game road trip which was highlighted by a sweep of the L.A. Angels and, although they have been struggling lately, the Red Sox are always formidable at Fenway Park.
Offensively, one player to keep an eye on is Billy Butler. Butler has had his share of problems at Tropicana Field. In 19 games, Butler is batting .171 with a .417 OPS. Ouch. He is the lynch-pin in the Royals lineup and if he can continue his recent run, the Royals are in line to win at least two against the Rays and split the series in Boston.
All of this depends on the pitching staff, however.
Just ask Ned Yost.
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