The Kansas City Royals have a chance to pick up a road series win against the Texas Rangers on Sunday. While I doubt one win today makes a difference in the long-run, it would probably help restore some confidence in the players and fans that they can compete with one of the best teams in baseball.
The Royals will have to beat one of the best pitchers in baseball to earn the victory, as Yu Darvish will start for the Rangers. Darvish has been filthy this season, posing a 3.03 ERA while striking out 36% of batters faced. His K% is the best in baseball among all qualified starters. The only blemish about Darvish this season is he has been a little homer happy, but I can't imagine Kansas City hitters can exploit that.
Ervin Santana will counter Darvish for the Royals, and will probably need to pitch one of his best games of the season to keep this one close. Santana has a 3.33 ERA with 57 strikeouts and 11 walks in 70 1/3 innings. Santana owns the third lowest walk percentage in the AL, which has fueled most of his success. The starter has battled home run issues of late, with a HR/FB% of 16.7%, and pitching in Rangers Ballpark at Arlington isn't going to help.
Jeff Francoeur is in the lineup against Darvish, as David Lough is unable to play because of a bruised wrist suffered in yesterday's victory. There's a very good chance that the Darvish vs. Francoeur at bats end up as a .gif, as Frenchy will likely make a fool of himself.
Royals beat writer Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star brings us the full lineup:
#Royals vs. Tex RHP Darvish: Gordon 7, Escobar 6, Hosmer 3, Butler DH, Moustakas 5, Cain 8, Francoeur 9, Kottaras 2, Getz 4 and Santana 1.— Bob Dutton (@Royals_Report) June 2, 2013
Switch Cain with Escobar and Moustakas with Kottarras, and you've almost got a lineup that makes sense, given the players currently available.
Adrian Beltre has a minor left hamstring strain, so he will be out of the lineup today. Mike Peasley of ESPN Dallas brings us the Rangers starting lineup:
#Rangers Lineup vs KC: Andrus SS, Murphy LF, Berkman DH, Cruz RF, Moreland 1B, Baker 3B, Soto C, Gentry CF, Profar 2B, Darvish P— Mike Peasley (@PeasESPN) June 2, 2013
Elvis Andrus was not supposed to play today, but apparently he talked his way into the starting lineup and leadoff spot.
Song of the Day: Eluveitie - A Rose for Epona
A metal band with a full-time viola, flute and hurdy gurdy. Their sound is very unique, and quite awesome.