Winners of 15 of their last 18, the World Champion Kansas City Royals are on fire and heading into Fenway to face the co-owners of the American League East Division lead, the Boston Red Sox. The Royals have little margin for error as they have a lot of ground to make up if they want to make the playoffs for their third straight year. The Red Sox are the highest-scoring offense in the game and are a nightmare match-up for any team with little room for error.
*All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball-Reference
Game One - Friday, 6:10 PM CDT
The sardonic Steven Wright returns from the disabled list to make his first start since throwing a 119-pitch complete game, however it wasn't the pitching that landed him there. No, he hurt his shoulder pinch-running because that makes sense. While the knuckle-baller started the season red hot, his last eight starts have been decidedly less impressive. Even with that complete-game shut-out, his ERA over his last 48.1 innings has been 5.03, while allowing a triple-slash of .273/.332/.387. In that stretch, he also allowed an additional seven unearned runs. To say teams have scored with ease while Wright has been on the mound for the past two months would be an accurate statement.
Game Two - Saturday, 6:10 PM CDT
|Danny Duffy (L)||35||138.2||147||29||2.66||3.21||3.75||3.38||3.2||4.3|
|David Price (L)||27||177.2||179||39||4.00||3.45||3.46||3.56||3.7||2.6|
After a brutal April and May, David Price has settled back into being David Price, at least in the earned runs department. David Price really wasn't ever not David Price, but few seemed to want to look at his 2.48 FIP / 5.76 ERA first month of the season and ignore the ugly ERA. His 24.2 K% is better than his career 23.5% mark. His 5.3 BB% is better than his 6.2% mark. His HR/FB% is at its highest mark of his career, but whose isn't? This David Price is still the David Price that the Royals should be worrying about.
Game Three - Sunday, 7:08 PM CDT
|Eduardo Rodriguez (L)||13||68.2||60||24||5.11||4.91||4.70||4.55||0.4||0.2|
Since his 2.2 inning disaster against the Rays in which he allowed nine earned, Rodriguez has been a different pitcher. In the seven starts and 39.1 innings that have come since July 16, he has struck out 39 while walking 12, holding a 2.52 ERA and 3.40 FIP over that time. Of course he left his last start four innings into a no-hitter with a hamstring injury, so this will be his first start back. The Royals have to be hoping for a little bit of rust and/or tightness.
|David Ortiz (L)||DH||490||30||62||100||2||.322||.412||.637||.430||170||4.0||4.3|
|Jackie Bradley Jr. (L)||CF||498||21||73||72||7||.272||.351||.503||.362||123||3.9||4.6|
|Sandy Leon (S)||C||176||7||28||26||0||.369||.425||.618||.437||175||2.8||2.5|
|Travis Shaw (L)||3B||442||14||53||60||4||.248||.317||.434||.319||94||1.7||1.7|
|Brock Holt (L)||LF||250||6||35||29||3||.251||.317||.381||.305||84||-0.2||0.6|
|Marco Hernandez (L)||IF||49||1||7||5||1||.295||.367||.386||.334||104||-0.1||0.7|
Stats through Wednesday, August 24
There is no way to look at this lineup and not get worried if you are a Royals fan. There's a ton of talent in the top two-thirds of the order. Mookie Betts is one of the game's best players and is complemented by the likes of David Ortiz, Jackie Bradley Jr., Xander Bogaerts, and Dustin Pedroia. Catcher Sandy Leon has come from nowhere to make the Red Sox forget all about Blake Swihart. Andrew Benintendi came up and produced immediately before finding his way to the disabled list on Wednesday. Their 114 wRC+ as a team is seven points better than any other team. Their .348 wOBA is .010 better than the next best team, the Colorado Rockies. They're really damn good and have scored nearly 200 more runs than the Royals this season. It will take a lot for the Royals to match their firepower.
Editor's Note: New players win cash in their first daily fantasy league or get their entry fee refunded! Offered in SB Nation's partnership with FanDuel, your hub for daily fantasy baseball and more.