Records Entering Series: KC (7-20, 5th in AL Central), BOS (20-7, 1st in AL East)
The Royals head into Boston sporting the 2nd worst record in the MLB to take on the team with STILL the best record in the MLB, the Red Sox.
It’s been an up-and-down couple weeks for Boston, who are 4-5 in their last 9 games after beginning the year 17-2. The pitching has slipped up at times, and the bats have come back down to Earth after looking like a team bound to break some offensive records to begin 2018.
Nevertheless, Boston is the far superior team in this matchup and will be disappointed with anything less than 2 wins out of these 3 games.
Hitters to Watch
KC: Mike Moustakas – After losing Eric Hosmer, the Royals were ecstatic to bring Moustakas back after he hit a career high 38 home runs in 2017. He’s currently hitting .302 with 8 HR and 19 RBI, more or less carrying a KC offense that ranks towards the bottom of most offensive statistical categories.
BOS: Andrew Benintendi – Benintendi has started 2018 slow, but he’s steadily getting better and better, seeing that BA creep up to .242 now. He’s still stuck on only 1 HR, but he has tallied 14 RBI while scoring 16 runs coming from his respectable .358 OBP. A string of multi-hit games, something he’s failed to put together thus far, may be all he needs to really get going, and an average Royals pitching staff could be the opponent he finally takes advantage of.
Pitchers to Watch
KC: Jason Hammel – After a terrible 2017, Hammel has rebounded and been a welcome surprise to the KC rotation this year. He’s currently sporting a 3.38 ERA a 1.13 WHIP in 32 IP. He’ll go up against Eduardo Rodriguez in game 1 of this series.
BOS: Drew Pomeranz – Pomeranz is slated to pitch game 3, and he really needs a bounce back performance after an ugly outing vs. Tampa his last time out. He has a 7.27 ERA in 2 starts this year, and he’s given up 11 hits (3 HR) and 4 walks in only 8.2 IP. The Royals offense is far below average, so he’ll be looking to take advantage of that and show Alex Cora that he does indeed deserve a spot in this rotation.
Matchup to Watch: Jakob Junis vs. Chris Sale
Chris Sale and Jakob Junis will face each other in game 2 in what is the marquee pitching matchup of this series. Sale has been mostly dominant so far, with a 2.31 ERA, a .97 WHIP and 45 K’s in 35 IP despite clearly not always having his best stuff. Junis has been equally as impressive, and even trumps Sale’s WHIP with a .87 mark of his own. His 8 home runs allowed have inflated his ERA to 3.34, but Junis has been solid, nonetheless.