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Gamethread XXXIII: Royals at Tigers

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Friday night baseball! Boy oh Boyd!

MLB: Los Angeles Angels at Kansas City Royals
Jorge Lopez has probably been better than you think.
Peter G. Aiken

You’re 11-21 Royals will play more baseball, tonight. If you’re a fan of baseball regardless of quality you’ll be happy about this. If you only like good baseball this might be a game to skip if you can find better plans. I can’t, so I’ll be watching this one.

Jorge López will be going for the Royals. The starter is pitching almost to the exact same ERA he had last season - 5.08 this year compares to 5.03 last year - which doesn’t sound promising and might signal his demotion if the Royals had any other viable candidates. They don’t, though. Also, he’s been a bit better than his ERA, though. The FIP says he’s actually been a bit lucky but he’s striking out nearly two batters per nine innings more than he was last year while walking fewer. His batting average against is .271 compares to last year’s .270. His BABIP is identical. So what’s the issue? Home runs. López has allowed nearly twice as many home runs this year as he did last year but there’s no reason to think that should necessarily continue when he’s improving or staying the same in every way. Those aren’t guarantees of improvement, of course, just ask Brandon Maurer. But with the Royals already showing signs of barreling toward another 100-loss season and, again, without any other viable options for the rotation, there’s no reason not to let him keep trying for a bit longer.

The Tigers will counter with Matt Boyd of the David Price trade. The left-hander seems to have finally figured something out and he’s putting together a phenomenal season for the Tigers so far. He’s already been worth 1.6 fWAR even though we aren’t even a quarter of the way through the season. He’s upped his strikeouts to an unreasonable 11.57/9 IP and he’s walking fewer than ever. The most impressive thing, though, is that he’s dropped his home run allowed rate to one-third his career rates. He’s also allowing fewer hits in general despite a higher BABIP thanks to the drastic increase in home runs. This is not going to be an easy game for the Royals lineup.

Speaking of...

Lineups

You’ll note that Ryan O’Hearn is sitting again. Chris Owings is playing again. Just as we all expected. Just as we all hoped for. Or something. Whatever is wrong with O’Hearn I have to assume that simply not playing him isn’t going to fix it.