The Royals are lava hot, right now. Or scorching hot. Or scalding hot. Or whichever modifier you prefer. They have won six consecutive games for the first time all season and they are currently only 2 games under .500 for the first time since April 21. This is as a good a time as any yet this year to be a Royals fan.
On the mound tonight for the Angels is Alex Meyer. Meyer debuted in the big leagues back in 2015 for Minnesota but came over along with Thursday's starter, Ricky Nolasco, in the Hector Santiago deal. So far in his big league career he's appeared in 17 games with 14 starts. 8 of those starts and appearances have come this season and he has had a career low ERA of 4.05 in 40 innings across those starts. He's struck out an impressive 46, but also walked an astonishing 29. The key to success for the Royals tonight may be watching some pitches and letting him walk them if he wants to. He has not won a game since May 14th but that's mostly due to poor run support, he also has only allowed 6 total earned runs in the intervening 4 starts
For the Royals Jakob Junis will make his third major league start. His last start was pretty good against the Padres in which he pitched 7 innings striking out 6 and only walking 1. He did allow 3 home runs but they were all solo shots and with the Royals' offense playing the way it has been that was plenty good enough for him to earn the win. According to baseball-reference.com's OPS+ stat San Diego currently ranks as the second worst offense in all of baseball, but the Phillies are still the fifth worst so the challenge to Junis should not be significantly greater.
Then again, the Royals' offense is still ranked fourth worst so he needs to focus and do his job or he might turn them into lava along with his teammates.
It's a great thing when the Royals can be on the west coast and still play baseball at a reasonable hour. It's an even better thing when they're playing so hot and against a team they have not yet lost to, this season. Here's hoping that can continue.