The Royals head into the second game of the series against the Los Angeles Dodgers hoping to cleanse their palates of a 4-1 loss on Friday night. The hottest teams in their respective leagues, the Royals and Dodgers will turn to veteran right-handers Ian Kennedy and Brandon McCarthy to take the bump this afternoon.
Kennedy -- whose 4.44 ERA is nearly a full run lower than his 5.36 FIP suggests it should be thanks in large part to a Chris Youngian .204 BABIP and in spite of the highest BB% he has posted since his early career with the Yankees and a K-BB% at a post-2010 nadir -- is coming off a strong start in Seattle (his second-best start of the season) and has given the Royals a quality start in three of his last four starts. If that seems like damning him with faint praise, perhaps it is.
McCarthy -- a delightful follow on Twitter -- is having his most productive season as a Dodger since signing a four-year deal before the 2015 season. The oft-injured hurler has already surpassed his combined innings total in the first two years of the deal with 72 innings pitched this season. In those innings, he's been everything the Dodgers' brain trust could have wanted. Already having amassed 2.0 fWAR, McCarthy is succeeding in large part because he's limited the damage done to him by the long ball. His 3.22 FIP is the 15th-best mark in baseball (minimum 70 IP), but his xFIP is nearly a run higher at 4.18 due in large part to allowing just 0.50 HR/9 and 5.9 HR/FB%, the latter mark being the third-lowest in baseball after Danny Duffy and Alex Wood. While Wood's absurd 63.3 GB% suggests that perhaps he can limit the damage done by hung dongs, neither Duffy nor McCarthy have batted-ball profiles that suggest such luck is likely to continue.
The hosts will field the following lineup:
Today's Dodger lineup vs. Royals:— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) July 8, 2017
McCarthy P pic.twitter.com/ssRIUxuFDk
The Royals will align themselves thusly:
This game will be a