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Royals series preview: Oakland Athletics

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Can KC get a Royal Flush in Oakland?

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Oakland Athletics v Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Jed Lowrie helps Matt Chapman celebrate a recent home run.
Photo by Harry How/Getty Images

The Kansas City Royals will be making their final regular season trip to the West Coast this season and conclude their eight-game road trip with three against the Oakland Athletics. Thank goodness these will be the final two nights of planned, baseball-induced sleep deprivation.

Pitching matchups and game times:

  • Monday, August 14, 9:05 CDT - Jake Junis versus Jharel Cotton
  • Tuesday, August 15, 9:05 CDT - Jason Hammel versus Chris Smith
  • Wednesday August 16, 2:35 CDT - Danny Duffy versus Paul Blackburn

Kansas City at Oakland pitching matchups

Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP fWAR rWAR
Pitcher G IP K K% BB BB% ERA FIP xFIP fWAR rWAR
Jake Junis 10 44.0 37 19.1% 16 8.3% 4.70 5.55 5.35 0.0 0.3
Jharel Cotton 17 91.1 78 19.3% 39 9.6% 5.72 5.40 5.37 0.2 -0.8
Jason Hammel 23 130.2 103 17.9% 38 6.6% 4.68 4.11 4.99 1.9 1.8
Chris Smith 6 34.0 19 12.8% 12 8.1% 5.29 6.52 5.64 -0.4 0.1
Danny Duffy 19 120.0 101 20.3% 31 6.2% 3.68 3.41 4.49 2.8 2.9
Paul Blackburn 8 50.2 20 9.9% 13 6.4% 3.02 4.20 4.79 0.6 1.5

Jharel Cotton had a startlingly good debut last season compiling a 2.15 ERA in 5 starts during a September call-up. This season he has not been nearly so good. He missed most of the month of July with a blister on his right thumb. Since returning he has allowed 14 runs in 14.2 innings while allowing 5 home runs; he has also struck out 11 while walking 7.

Chris Smith will be making only his sixth start of the year for the Athletics. So far he has allowed more than 2 home runs per 9 innings including 4 home runs in his last start against the Baltimore Orioles. He did at least seem to have a good sense of humor about it, so there’s that.

Paul Blackburn was a first round pick by the Cubs in 2012 and has already been traded twice, to the Mariners for along with Daniel Vogelbach for a minor leaguer and Mike Montgomery. Then he was dealt from the Mariners for Danny Valencia during the off-season. He will be making his ninth career big league start and his immediate numbers look alright except he doesn’t seem to strike out many which is reflected in a FIP a full run higher than his ERA. He has alternated allowing 4+ runs with shutout performances for his last five starts. If the pattern holds he is set for another 6+ inning 0-run ballgame.

Oakland Athletics position players

Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Player Pos PA HR R RBI SB AVG OBP SLG wOBA wRC+ fWAR rWAR
Jed Lowrie (S) 2B 470 10 60 40 0 .273 .349 .443 .340 116 2.4 2.7
Khris Davis LF 486 32 69 83 4 .243 .331 .527 .358 128 1.7 1.9
Matt Chapman 3B 150 7 19 19 0 .227 .307 .492 .334 112 1.3 1.9
Matt Joyce (L) RF 394 15 53 44 2 .228 .335 .426 .329 108 1.1 0.8
Marcus Semien SS 191 4 25 16 7 .238 .340 .360 .311 96 0.9 0.5
Chad Pinder IF 197 10 25 29 1 .256 .301 .489 .330 109 0.7 1.3
Rajai Davis CF 313 5 47 18 25 .237 .295 .359 .284 78 0.4 0.8
Matt Olson (L) 1B 76 6 8 12 0 .209 .303 .493 .336 113 0.4 0.6
Bruce Maxwell (L) C 146 1 11 14 0 .221 .336 .295 .289 81 0.1 -0.1
Boog Powell (L) OF 48 0 7 2 0 .200 .319 .200 .252 56 -0.1 0.3
Dustin Garneau C 87 1 5 8 0 .198 .244 .333 .250 34 -0.1 0.0
Ryon Healy DH 443 21 48 63 0 .255 .284 .458 .313 97 -0.3 0.5

The Oakland lineup will look a bit different from the one the Royals saw at the start of the year. The immediate reaction would be to assume that as the second worst team in the AL they traded all of their players but that’s only true of first baseman Yonder Alonso. Catcher Steven Vogt was DFA’d and claimed by the Brewers. Third baseman Trevor Plouffe got the same treatment but was claimed by the Tampa Bay Rays.

By OPS+ Oakland has the fifth best offense in the American League, but by total rWAR they are the worst team in the AL with only first, second, and third base producing a positive rWAR for them so far this season. By contrast, the Royals are seventh in the AL.

Poll

How will the Royals fare against the Athletics?

This poll is closed

  • 40%
    Royals sweep
    (111 votes)
  • 49%
    Royals take two of three
    (136 votes)
  • 7%
    Athletics takes two of three
    (21 votes)
  • 3%
    Athletics sweep
    (9 votes)
277 votes total Vote Now

All stats courtesy of FanGraphs and Baseball Reference through action on Saturday, August 12.

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