Due to yesterday's rain-out - perhaps combined with already sharing another rain-out with the Twins - the Royals will play a straight double-header, today. Most of us are accustomed to baseball teams playing day-night split double-headers, but this one will differ in that rather than giving the second game a set start time a few hours after the first the second game will be played 30 minutes after the conclusion of the first game.
In the first game the Royals will, in a surprise move, give Jake Junis his first big league start. They designated Al Alburquerque for assignment to free up a roster spot for Junis. Alburquerque had made 5 appearances over 4 innings striking out 6 but also allowing 3 walks and 3 runs. He took the loss Friday night when he walked both batters he faced in the tenth inning before Travis Wood was summoned and failed to get the team of the jam. Junis is now on his third stint with the big league club so far this season, each prior stretch has last only a single inning-long appearance for the right-hander. He's walked 4 and struck out only 2 but has not yet allowed a run.
The Royals are scheduled to start Ian Kennedy in the second game but Miguel Almonte has been given the 26th roster spot designation and so they'll need to clear yet another spot in between games to get him on the roster. It seems likely the person without a chair when all is said and done will be Chris Young. Ian Kennedy has not yet collected a win this year, but had pitched pretty well for the boys in blue up to this point compiling a 3.03 ERA across 6 starts before suffering the hamstring injury on May 4.
The Twins will send out Phil Hughes for the first game. Phil has been predictably bad this year. He's also already faced the Royals once and pitched 5.2 innings while allowing 4 runs but still collected the win as Jason Hammel allowed 5 runs of his own, though only 3 were earned. The Twins will send Adalberto Mejia out for the second game. Mejia, like Kennedy, will be making his first start since being away from the big league team. He was demoted after making 3 starts where he average 3 innings and had an ERA of 5.79. He did well in 4 more starts for their AAA affiliate and so he was originally scheduled to pitch Saturday night on short rest, so he's probably blessing the rain that pushed everything back a day and allowed him to resume his regular schedule.
First game lineups
Royals Today I: Escobar 6, Moustakas 5, Cain 8, Hosmer 3, Perez 2, Bonifacio 9, Moss DH, Merrifield 4, Gordon 7 (RHP Junis)— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) May 21, 2017
But wait! There's more roster craziness! Even after they find room for Junis, Almonte, and Kennedy it appears that Alex Gordon will be going on paternity leave following the first game which will allow Raul Mondesi to make his "triumphant" return, for some reason. Raul has been playing well in Omaha, but it hasn't even been a month yet. I guess you really never know what craziness you'll see in a baseball game.