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Gamethread LXXVI: Royals at Astros

One team has World Series aspirations the other is trying, inexplicably, to avoid the first overall draft pick.

Texas Rangers v Kansas City Royals
Ian Kennedy has been looking down after throwing a pitch, a lot, this year.
Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images

We all can agree that the Royals are not good, yes? We can also agree that the Astros are very good, correct? Then you would assume today’s contest was going to be difficult, to begin with. But, well, maybe it won’t be so bad?

The Royals will send Ian Kennedy to the mound, today. You may recall that Ian Kennedy is a flyball pitcher and that Houston has a park that is very rewarding toward hitters who hit flyballs. This does not sound promising. But here’s the weird thing: According to Baseball Reference, Ian Kennedy has gone 4-1 against the Astros in his career with a 1.99 ERA in five starts. If you’re thinking that those starts must not have been in Minute Maid Park, you’d be wrong. Three of those starts were in Minute Maid for a collective 0.92 ERA while striking out 17 in 19.2 innings. Now, two of those starts were while the team wasn’t very good in 2010 and 2012. But one of them was in 2016 for the Royals. He went seven innings allowing one run and striking out seven to earn the victory, that day. All Ian Kennedy does is win in Minute Maid.

Unfortunately for the Royals, the Astros will counter with Lance McCullers Jr. The right-hander has never lost to KC and struck out 33 in 27 innings across four starts. Most of the Royals teams he has faced have been better than this one. So the Royals will have their work cut out for them, today.