It’s safe to say that when the Royals made their first trade of the season, sending noted domestic-violence-perpetrator Aroldis Chapman to the Texas Rangers, Royals fans were unimpressed. An 18-year-old non-prospect and a pitcher with limited success in his early stints in the big leagues didn’t excite anyone in KC. However, that pitcher’s early results have quickly turned things around.
Since arriving in Kansas City, Cole Ragans has made three starts for KC, striking out 22 in 17.2 innings while walking only four. He has a 1.02 ERA and, perhaps even more impressively, a 1.46 FIP. He will make his fourth start tonight against the cross-state rival Cardinals and it seems safe to say that this is the most excited many fans have been all season.
The Cardinals will send out left-hander Steven Matz, for their part. Matz, who appeared for the Mets during their 2015 World Series loss, has been mediocre this season with a 3-7 record and a 3.91 ERA. Compared to his career his strikeouts are down, his walks are up, but he’s really trimmed down the home runs to keep himself competitive at 32 years old. That makes him far more effective than former teammate Matt Harvey was at the same age, despite having long been despised by Mets fans.
Before tonight’s game the Royals decided they’d finally seen enough of Jon Heasley out of the bullpen for the time being and demoted him in order to recall Max Castillo. Maikel Garcia remains out of the lineup after being injured in last night’s action. As of this writing, it’s still only been described as left side discomfort by the team.