Last weekend, the Royals won a tough series against a good team that made the playoffs, the Los Angeles Angels. The series was an adrenaline-filled series concluding with a dust-up between Yordano Ventura and Mike Trout. Fresh off such a thrilling weekend, the Royals immediately went out and dropped two of three to the Twins, a team many expect to be among the league's worst this year.
This week, the Royals are fresh off another tough series win against another good team that made the playoffs last season, the Oakland Athletics. The series was an adrenaline-filled series concluding with a dust-up between Kelvin Herrera and Brett Lawrie. Fresh off such a thrilling weekend, the Royals again face the Twins. The Royals will have to make sure there is no let-down.
After the Royals destroyed the Twins 12-3 in Minnesota's home opener, the Twins bounced back and shut the Royals down the rest of the weekend to take the series. The Twins took two of three from the Indians over the weekend and are now 5-7 on the season.
Mizzou grad Kyle Gibson has turned into quite the Royals-killer, shutting the team down in a 3-1 win last Saturday. He has a 1.38 ERA in four career starts, all wins against Kansas City. The Royals will also face soft-tossing lefty Tommy Milone again after he beat them last Sunday. Milone is off to a good start, winning both of his starts this year with a 2.08 ERA. Former Wichita State Shocker Mike Pelfrey makes the start in the series finale. The former Mets right-hander is coming off a terrible 2014 season, but was pressed into starting duty once Ervin Santana was suspended for 80 games for Stanozolol.
Note: 2014 statistics
The Twins have scored the third-fewest runs per game this year, at just 3.25 a contest. Joe Mauer is the only starter hitting over .225 and starting centerfielder Jordan Schafer is hitting a robust .143/.172/.179, good for a -1 OPS+. Minnesota's eight home runs are dead last in the league and they have drawn the third-fewest walks. Regression hurts.
The starting lineup is similar to what the Royals faced last week in Minnesota, although Torii Hunter and Brian Dozier have recently traded spots in the lineup, with Hunter hitting second at times and Dozier hitting cleanup.
Note: 2014 statistics
Lefty-specialist Brian Duensing is on the disabled list, robbing us of Ryan Lefebvre's 1000th reminder than Duensing and Alex Gordon were teammates at the University of Nebraska. Twins relievers are striking out just 5.4 hitters per nine innings, easily the worst in the league. Closer Glen Perkins has continued to do a superb job, but has only had two save opportunities on the year. Lefty Aaron Thompson has pitched well in long relief with a 0.87 ERA in 10 1/3 innings, but Blaine Boyer, Tim Stauffer, and J.R. Graham have all struggled mightily.