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Game one hundred and forty-three: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins

Can the Royals record a hit before the ninth inning?

Kansas City Royals v Minnesota Twins Photo by David Berding/Getty Images

Much is on the line in tonight’s game. Minnesota, after leading the division for much of the season, is seeing their postseason odds slip away. They have gone 3-8 in September and now sit five games behind Cleveland for the division lead. They have no room for error, every game counts. To that end, they will send Sonny Gray to the mound. Gray has been solid but unspectacular. His numbers aren’t too dissimilar from Brady Singer, except Gray doesn’t go as deep into games. He has a 2.27 ERA and 3.33 FIP since the All-Star break, but he hasn’t pitched more than six innings since June 27.

Meanwhile, the Royals still have an outside shot at 70 wins. They would need to go 13-7 the rest of the way. They also could still lose 100 games, which would require a 5-15 finish. There’s no reason this team can’t go on a run where you lose 15 of 20. More likely they will finish somewhere in the middle, with a poor but not spectacularly bad record. Zack Greinke starts tonight. He’s been just about exactly what I expected this season: 4-6 innings per start with an ERA of exactly 4.00 and a FIP that mostly agrees. For what it’s worth, Mike Minor has pitched about 20 fewer innings than Greinke this season with a 5.78 ERA and 6.01 FIP.

Last night the Royals were getting no-hit for a few hours before the offense came alive a bit in the ninth to make the final score look more respectable. Just continuing the recent trend, really; the offense has been hot and cold all season and lately it’s been cold. They’ve averaged just 3.73 runs per game in September with a team wRC+ of 78, tied with Miami for the worst in baseball. 12 of the 41 runs scored this month came in one game against Detroit. If we neglect that game, the team has scored 2.9 runs per game this month. Yikes.

First Pitch: 6:40 pm CDT

Royals Lineup

Twins Lineup