Many people were hoping that by the time we came back around to another Sunday game the team would find a way to change things up so they weren't playing to reach .500, again. And they did! But in the wrong direction. The Royals starting rotation continues to absolutely dominate their opponents, but the offense is even more MIA than ever and the bullpen, while mostly solid recently, just is not quite as lights out as it used to be. Spoiler alert: today doesn't look significantly better for the boys in blue.
The Royal offense will have to face off against the ace of the Rangers' staff, Yu Darvish. The oft-injured righty is 1-2 with a 3.28 ERA, this year. He's made 3 starts against the Royals in his career going 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA and more strikeouts than innings pitched. The good news for Royals fans is that Darvish and Brandon Moss have a long history which includes Brandon hitting .304 in 26 at-bats including 4 home runs. Eric Hosmer has the next most at-bats and has gone 0-for-9 with 1 RBI.
The Royals counter with Jason Hammel. Hammel is 0-1 with a 4.60 ERA so far this year and has probably been the weakest starter in the Royals' rotation. None of the Rangers have much success or even many at-bats against the Royal right-hander. None of them have hit any home runs which sounds good even while acknowldging the lack of history because this is the first time I've seen that in about a year of checking matchups at least once a week.
4/23 @Royals lineup at TEX— MLB Lineups (@mlblineups) April 23, 2017
4/23 @Rangers lineup vs KC— MLB Lineups (@mlblineups) April 23, 2017
Listen, I'm really not sure what to tell you about that lineup. For starters Alex Gordon has been demoted from leadoff. It took way longer for Ned to decide to do that to Alcides Escobar, last year so maybe it's just a one day thing. This is also clearly not the best defensive team the Royals will put on the field this year. Best guess is that Ned wanted to get Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas at least small breaks and this was the best he could come up with. Either this lineup will put together 10 runs or it will somehow score -1. There can be no in-between.