The Royals have a chance to do something that hasn't been done since the middle of May: Win consecutive road series. So far on this 8 game road trip they've faced a bad home team and a bad team in general, so it's important to keep the wins coming while facing weaker competition.
The largest obstacle to the Royals' hopes today resides in the Phillies' promising rookie starter Vincent Velasquez, acquired in the off-season from the Astros in the Ken Giles trade. Velasquez started the season very strong including a complete game, 3 hit, 16 strikeout performance against the Padres in his second start of the season. Of late he has appeared more human. He hasn't gone more than 5 innings in any of his last 6 starts. He has also been hurt recently and this is only his second start since his return, so the Phillies will probably still want to be careful with him. In his last start he did pitch 5 scoreless innings against the Arizona Diamondbacks allowing no runs on 5 hits with 7 strikeouts and no walks. The Royals as a team are 3-for-15 against Velasquez in his career, but that includes a home run by - you guessed it - Kendrys Morales.
The Royals will counter with enigmatic flame-thrower Yordano Ventura, who followed his most recent temper tantrum in Baltimore with 2 very solid starts before serving his suspension. In his last start, however, against the Cardinals coming off the suspension he was rocked pretty well. Very few Phillies have ever seen him before, with only a total of 9 at bats against him from the entire team. You'd like to think Ventura's stuff will play up against a team that has never seen it before, but that will require him to first be able to control it enough to avoid both walks and meatballs.
#Royals lineup: Gordon 7, Whit 4, Hottest Hitter in Baseball 9, Hoz 3, Cuthbert 5, Esky 6, Dyson 8, Hair Flip 2, Ventura 1— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) July 3, 2016
7/3 @Phillies lineup vs KC— MLB Lineups (@mlblineups) July 3, 2016
Unleash the fire!