Some weeks you spend the entire week at work or in class or doing some thankless job at home. By the time you get to Friday morning life seems pointless, hopeless. Why even go on living?
For the weekend, baby.
After the Royals played three atrocious games in Minnesota and with everyone fearing as they went to face a much stronger team in the Astros of Houston, some people were ready to jump ship. But just like a good weekend of partying with your friends, lying around the house reading a good book, or whatever your favorite weekend leisure activity is the Royals have won two convincing games in Houston and breathed life back into their dwindling playoff aspirations.
Going for the Royals will be Nathan Karns in his regular season starting debut for the boys in blue. Nate had a terrific spring training where he compiled 30 strike outs versus only 6 walks in 23 innings of work across 6 starts. Karns had a bumpy true debut when he pitched in relief during the cursed Minnesota series. He allowed 4 runs in only 2/3 of an inning, walking 2. Both of his outs came by strikeout, though. Nate has a good history against the Astros; he's compiled a 3.22 ERA in 6 games against them, striking out 29 batters though he has walked 9. Karns has a tOPS+ - a stat that measures a split against a player's overall stats - of 60. That means he has held the Astros to something like 40% less offense than he has normally allowed in his career.
The Astros will counter with Lance McCullers Jr. He pitched 6 innings his first start, striking out 7 and allowing only 1 run in earning a victory. He only has one regular season start against the Royals, he struck out 6 while allowing only a single run en route to earning a win over Joe Blanton back in 2015. He also pitched well in what ultimately became a somewhat memorable loss during the 2015 playoffs in Game 4 of the ALDS.
Neither pitcher has an extensive history against either team. Josh Reddick and Carlos Correa both have home runs off of Karns while the incredibly hot Salvador Perez has a bomb of his own off McCullers.
Here are today's starting lineups:
Royals lineup pic.twitter.com/I1UKeB4dQV— Jeffrey Flanagan (@FlannyMLB) April 9, 2017
If the Royals can pull off a win here they will start their first home-stand of the year the same way they have the past two seasons - with the same number of victories as losses and ready to prove the prediction algorithms wrong.