If you were wondering how big of a deal it was that the Royals have had no top-100 prospects for the last 2 seasons this series should be demonstrative to you. The Angels finished 80-82 last season despite having the best player in baseball on their team. This off-season they added one of the best prospects in baseball in the form of Shohei Ohtani. Now they’re 12-3. Of course, that isn’t the only move they made but he has definitely had an impact, so far this season; 2 of their 3 losses were in games he didn’t play.
But since he’ll be starting tomorrow he won’t be playing tonight. So maybe the Royals have a chance!
The other thing working in the Royals’ favor tonight is their starting pitcher, Jakob Junis. The Royals have only won games, so far this season, in which they haven’t allowed the other team to score. Junis hasn’t allowed anyone to score, yet, this year. I wrote this morning about how he has been lights out for very nearly 1/3 of a season, going back to last year. Whether he can continue that feat - though it’s probably a bit much to expect him to shut out every opponent - might be the most interesting part of this season.
The Angels will counter with erstwhile ace Garrett Richards. Richards hasn’t made more than 6 starts since 2015 and tonight will be his fourth of the 2018 campaign. So far this year he’s only 1-0 with a 4.20 ERA but he has struck out 19 batters in only 15 innings. His primary issue appears to be walks. He’s given up a whopping 12 of them. Maybe tonight would have been a good night to let the newly patient Alcides Escobar lead off.