The Royals wrap up their California road trip this weekend with a three game series with Oakland. With the Tigers getting their series with the red hot Rangers off to a humiliating start, this could be a great chance for the Royals to close the one game lead in the American League Central. Here are the matchups by the numbers.
The A’s are coming off of a losing series against the Rangers. They were out scored in that series by only a single run. In 42 games, the A’s have scored 199 runs for an average of close to 5 runs a game. Strangely enough, the number of runs scored against the A’s is an identical 199. If the Royals can contain Oakland’s offense this weekend they are sure to like where they sit in the rankings come Monday morning.
James Shields gets the start for the Royals. Shields took the loss in his last game against the Yankees and a no decision against the White Sox. Both were tough losses for the Royals as Shields only allowed 2 runs to New York and none at all to the Sox. Shields has struck out close to a batter an inning and owns a 0.97 WHIP. Look for Big Game James to keep the Oakland offense in check on Friday night.
The A’s will send Jarrod Parker to the hill on Friday to face Shields. Parker has been pretty terrible thus far. His only wins so far this year have only come when his team has provided great run support behind him such as his 10-6 win against the Angles. His ERA is approaching 7 and has been allowing close to 2 base runners an inning. If Parker turns this around on Friday it will be surprising.
Ervin Santana will start for the Royals. Santana is coming off of a disappointing game against the Yankees giving up 8 hits, 2 of which were home runs. The long ball can at times be Santana’s biggest weakness and as mentioned before, the A’s can hit. Fortunately, the Coliseum is a pitcher friendly park and should help Santana keep in on the field.
Santana will face off against Tommy Milone. Milone has been pretty hit or miss so far this year. His ERA is a deceiving 3.71. He has surrendered 13 earned runs in his last 5 starts, however in two of those starts he shut his opponents down completely. The Royals hope they get the Tommy Milone that gives up an earned run per inning and not the Tommy Milone that gives up none at all.
Luis Mendoza gets the start on Sunday. Mendoza has had a rough year so far. Unlike Santana, his troubles extend past giving up home runs. Mendoza has given up lots of hits as well as the occasional walk and he has yet to pitch past the 6th inning. The Royals are going to have to provide Mendoza with a lot of run support to keep this game in control.
Run support could be hard to come by though as A.J. Griffin will be starting for the A’s on Sunday. Griffin posted a 3.06 ERA last year and has looked sharp so far. His 3.48 ERA this year is somewhat bloated thanks to one horrendous start against the Red Sox where he gave up 7 runs in 4 innings. The Royals will have to try to get to Griffin early for the finale of the series.