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Game CXLIV: Royals at Twins

The most important Kansas City sporting event today

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Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

There is a Kansas City sporting event happening today that will have major implications on the divisional standings, as the Kansas City Royals close out a three-game set against the Twins, looking to avoid the sweep. It is notably the only important sports divisional match up happening today.

Kansas City enters today’s matchup in a nasty, long-term slide. From mid-june through mid August, the Royals played above .500 ball, posting a record of 27-25 between June 15 and August 12. Since that date, Kansas City is 10-20. More recently, they have won just two of their last eight games.

Brady Singer has been the lone bright spot, as the young bats have struggled and the young arms have continued to struggle. Daniel Lynch has been the highest profile example of this. Since August 12, where he held the Dodgers scoreless across five innings, Lynch has posted a 7.40 ERA in five starts. He’s given up 36 hits in 24.1 innings and is striking out just 13.9% of batters.

His ERA has ballooned to 5.14 on the season, with his xERA at 5.07. His start tonight is a timely one, with The Athletic publishing an in-depth look at the Royals inability to develop this latest batch of pitching prospects this morning. The most jarring aspect of that piece might have been how seemingly far behind the curve the Royals pitching program is with the rest of the league, reflected not just by Lynch’s lack of productivity, but the underlying causes of his lack of productivity.

According to Statcast’s percentile rankings, ranks out as average or better in just three of 14 categories, including being in the bottom 10 percent of pitchers in expected batting average, average exit velocity, and hard hit percentage.

The numbers for other non-Singer starts like Kris Bubic and Jonathan Heasley aren’t any prettier, but Lynch’s stand out. He was the best prospect of the bunch and was supposed to have had the best stuff, which makes his the underlying metrics seen above, as well as Eno Sarris’ ENO ranking of 140 out of 175 starting pitchers that much more discouraging. It also makes it more likely to be the result of a systemic problem.

Lynch looks to rebound from his recent struggles tonight in what will be one of his final starts of the season. He’ll face Dylan Bundy, someone who is not unfamiliar with the weight of underperforming as a top pitching prospect.

Kansas City enters the game having scored just 21 runs acorss their last eight games. Here are your lineups for tonight’s matchup.