Entering this week’s series against the Astros, the Royals had won just two of their last 12 games against Houston. You’d have to go all the way back to April of 2014 to find the last time Kansas City swept Houston in even a three-game set.
Thanks to Benny’s walk-off assist last night, the last place, 52-67 Royals have the opportunity to sweet a four-game set against the first place, 70-50 Astros. It would be their second four-game sweep of the season, with the first coming against the Tigers back in April. As it turned out, it was Kansas City’s last series win before the wheels fell off, going 2-13 immediately after the sweep.
The Royals will send Mike Minor the mound to secure the sweep, and it isn’t an ideal matchup. Only three teams in the American League have hit more home runs than the Astros and the long ball has been Minor’s achilles heel. Despite striking out 23.5% of the hitters he faces, which would be good for 4th best in Royals history if the season ended today, he is also 10th in all of baseball in HR/9 and home runs given up.
Houston will send 24-year-old righty Luis Garcia to the mound opposite of Minor, a sneaky candidate for American League Rookie of the Year. He ranks 2nd in the AL in fWAR and strikeout percentage among rookie starters. He has, however, struggled a bit recently, posting a 5.31 ERA across his last four starts.
Here are your lineups for this afternoon’s matchup as the Royals look to sweep a team most famous for blowing a 6-2 lead in the 8th inning of a playoff series clinching game. And we’ll once again get what none of us knew we needed but apparently desperately need: Ryan O’Hearn in right field.