The last time these two teams met was about a week ago at O.Co Coliseum in Oakland. The Royals took two of three from the A’s who have had the best record in baseball since – oh sometime in mid-June. The Royals pitching really shut the A’s down, however, the A’s were in a bit of a slump at the time and every A’s fans (and baseball fan for that matter but especially A’s fans) know that it happens every year. And every year everyone panics and then they pick it up again.
Of course I don’t mean literally every year but it happens when the A’s are in contention. What also happens is that Oakland is typically good in the second half of the season, making some pretty crazy runs down the stretch.
This year the A’s have been baseball’s best for pretty much the entire season and they don’t seem to be slowing down, especially not with their crazy-good starting rotation of Jon Lester, Sonny Gray, Scott Kazmir, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.
The Royals however know that it is possible for their rotation, which is also very good, to shut down the Oakland offense as long as they can score a couple of runs.
This series is big for both teams as both are in contention for the playoffs. The Royals have been on an incredible run winning 10 of their last 11 games, including the last seen straight. They have positioned themselves to be able to take over the lead in the A.L. Central from the Detroit Tigers with a win over the Athletics tonight. The A’s have finally gotten some breathing room over the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, now leading the A.L. West by four games and they would certainly like it to stay that way.
The A’s really need to take three of the four games this series to make sure they maintain their lead over the Angels as the Angels next three series are against the Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers and Philadelphia Phillies, all of whom are last in their divisions. That isn’t a whole lot of competition for a team with guys like Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton and Mike Trout, just to name a few.
The Royals want to win the series to gain as much as possible over the ailing Tigers who just had to put one of their top starting pitchers in Anibal Sanchez and arguably the best guy in their bullpen in Joakim Soria on the disabled list on Sunday. Even if they don’t gain too much over the Tigers, the Royals are still fighting for the remaining A.L. wild card spots. I say one remaining because it is VERY likely that the first A.L. wild card spot will go to a team in the A.L. West – whether the A’s, Angels or Seattle Mariners.
So this is a pretty big four game series starting tonight at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City. And y’all already know what I am going to say about it, “LET’S GO OAKLAND!!!” but may the best team (the A’s of course! lol) win!
Here are your pitching match-ups for the series (this should be good, REALLY GOOD! I wish I could be there, I loved it when I went back in like idk – we still had Marco Scutaro and Bobby Crosby so it was quite a while ago! but it was cool!):
Monday: Sonny Gray (11-5, 2.87 ERA) vs. Yordano Ventura (9-8, 3.47 ERA)
Tuesday: Jon Lester (12-7, 2.44 ERA) vs. Jeremy Guthrie (8-9, 4.35 ERA)
Wednesday: Scott Kazmir (13-4, 2.73 ERA vs. Jason Vargas (8-5, 3.68 ERA)
Thursday: Jeff Samardzija (5-8, 2.91 ERA) vs. James Shields (11-6, 3.25 ERA)