After pulling in victories in the last three games against Houston, a letdown game would not have been out of the question. Facing the left-handed Rich Hill after traveling to the West Coast, there were reasons why Kansas City may have underperformed to open their series against Oakland.
That didn't happen, as they pulled off the 4-2 victory in order to push their winning streak to four. They remain tied with the Chicago White Sox for first place in the division at 8-2.
Those two losses may seem familiar, as both came in games started by this afternoon's hurler, Chris Young. Young has not been good to start the season. His walks are up, his home run rate is up, and much like the precarious elevation within which his pitches have to work, his ERA is up at 7.45 thru 9.2 innings.
It's not worrisome yet, but a couple more of those kinds of starts will have people wondering about his effectiveness. The good news is that the Royals have a myriad of fifth starter types to rotate in if Young continues to struggle. The bad news is that Chris Young is signed thru 2017, and struggles this early in 2016 give off a certain apprehension because of Jeremy Guthrie's recent tenure as the overpaid innings eater guy.
Complicating matters is the fact that Oakland is countering with Sonny Gray, who just so happens to be a really good starting pitcher. His 6.9 fWAR over the past two seasons was good enough for tenth in the American League, while his 2.91 ERA was fifth, sandwiched between the likes of David Price and Corey Kluber.
#Royals vs RHP Gray:— Joel Goldberg (@goldbergkc) April 16, 2016
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Oakland Athletics (@Athletics) April 16, 2016