The Royals have officially been eliminated from the playoffs. Even the young starters have so few opportunities left that they are unlikely to drastically change any minds as to who they are going into the off-season. Fortunately, Royals fans still have something to keep an eye on: Salvador Perez’s chase for several home run milestones which will continue tonight.
Kris Bubic will pitch for the Royals. I know I said he is unlikely to change any opinions going forward but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still stuff he can work on. He’s flashed some real good stuff at times this year but has also walked too many and given up too many home runs. Will he be in the rotation next year? A lot depends on whether he can figure out how to consistently avoid those two outcomes a bit better. Tonight isn’t about winning for Bubic but about whether he can keep his pitches in and around the strike zone and the batted balls in the yard.
The Mariners are not yet eliminated and will be relying on Japanese left-hander Yusei Kikuchi to try and earn them another win. Kikuchi is in a bit of a rough patch which has seen him allow a 5.58 ERA in his last starts while walking 18 batters in only 30.2 innings. That stretch includes a start against the Royals back on August 26 which saw him give up four runs in five innings pitched in a game the Royals eventually won 6-4. Salvy did homer in that game, but not off of Kikuchi. So maybe he still owes him one.