Royals Close Out West Coast Trip With Four-Game Series Against AL West-Leading Oakland A's

Looking to salvage their West Coast road trip, the Kansas City Royals will travel North up the coast to visit the Oakland Athletics for a four-game weekend series.
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Looking to salvage their West Coast road trip, the Kansas City Royals (29-31) will travel North up the coast to visit the Oakland Athletics (36-27) for a four-game weekend series.

Pitching Probables

Thursday

Oakland: RHP Frankie Montas (6-5, 4.52 ERA)
Kansas City: LHP Mike Minor (4-3, 4.84 ERA)

Friday

Oakland: LHP Cole Irvin (4-7, 3.89 ERA)
Kansas City: RHP Brady Singer (3-5, 4.88 ERA)

Saturday

Oakland: RHP James Kaprielian (2-1, 3.08 ERA)
Kansas City: RHP Jackson Kowar (0-1, 54.00 ERA)

Sunday

Oakland: RHP Chris Bassitt (6-2, 3.44 ERA)
Kansas City: LHP Kris Bubic (1-1, 3.12 ERA)

Recent Performance

The American League West-leading Oakland Athletics have had a hot start to the month of June, winning six of their first seven games. The Athletics have been one of the more consistent teams in baseball since their 1-7 start to the season, winning 12 of their 17 series since and splitting three. Ironically, the Royals may have the A's right where they want them, as the Athletics are significantly better away from RingCentral Coliseum. With an 18-9 record on the road, the Athletics boast just a 19-17 record at home on the season. The two wins to get them over .500 at home came in their prior series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, who currently ride a 19-game road losing streak.

What to Watch For

While Jackson Kowar's debut was not quite what Royals fans had expected, he will get the bump again on Saturday with a chance to remedy his first big league outing. Kowar did not finish the first inning, allowing three hits, two walks and four earned runs in just two-thirds of an inning pitched. However, there have been plenty of great talents with rough first outings. Hall of Fame pitcher Tom Glavine went just 3 2/3 innings with six earned runs and five walks in his first career start. Glavine would follow up that poor showing with a strong seven-inning performance en route to his first of 305 career victories. Now, without getting ahead of ourselves and comparing a rookie making his second start to an all-time great, it is worth noting that talent can take time to cultivate into results. Seeing how Kowar rebounds could change fan perception as quickly as his debut ended.

When trying to break out of a slump as a team, it is important to find a piece of consistency in the lineup. Unfortunately for the Royals, in this five-game skid there has not been much consistency from individual to individual, let alone from a team. Averaging just two runs per game over the last five, only Salvador Perez and Whit Merrifield tallied a hit in each of the three games in the series against the Angels. The Royals will need more players to help step up in order to take the series against a steady Oakland team.

A couple of struggling Royals showed brief flashes of the type of production Royals fans would like to see on a consistent basis moving forward. In the first game of the series, Hunter Dozier went three-for-four with two doubles and a run. However, that game was followed up with two zero-for-three games. Jorge Soler hit a home run and double in the series but recorded outs on the other seven at-bats. Carlos Santana is batting just .143 through the month of June thus far. Though Santana has also added five walks and has struck out just twice in the month, it is imperative to the Royals' success that Santana delivers more than just the two runs batted in he has through this eight-game stretch. With these three talented hitters in a bit of a cold stretch, it would be a sight for sore eyes to see a productive series from each of them in Oakland.

Coming off a seven inning outing where he tied his season-high for runs allowed, Mike Minor takes the hill for the first game of the series looking to break the losing streak. Minor has found comfort in going on the road and helping the Royals win games away from the friendly confines. Minor's road ERA of 3.12 betters his home ERA of 5.93 by 2.81 points. The opponents' batting average against drops by 65 total points when Minor pitches on the road. But most importantly, the Royals are 4-1 in road games when Mike Minor starts; their only loss coming 2-1 in extra innings in Tampa Bay. Another stellar road outing by Minor could be just what the doctor ordered to help the Royals out of this rut.

How To Follow

Thursday

First Pitch: 8:40 p.m. CST
TV: Bally Sports Kansas City
Radio: 610 Sports Radio

Friday

First Pitch: 8:40 p.m. CST
TV: Bally Sports Kansas City
Radio: 610 Sports Radio

Saturday

First Pitch: 3:07 p.m. CST
TV: Bally Sports Kansas City
Radio: 610 Sports Radio

Sunday

First Pitch: 3:07 p.m. CST
TV: Bally Sports Kansas City
Radio: 610 Sports Radio

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