The Kansas City Royals (55-68, 23-37 away) open up a three-game American League series Monday night in Texas against the Houston Astros (73-51, 39-24 home). Kansas City is 3-1 head-to-head against Houston this season.
Monday’s first pitch is at 8:10 p.m. EST inside Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX. According to oddsmakers, the Astros (-240) are favored, and the total run over/under is at 9.
What to Know – Kansas City Royals
The Kansas City Royals enter the new week winners of six of its last seven games. The Royals swept the Chicago Cubs over the weekend but remain well outside the playoff picture. Kansas City is fourth in the AL Central and 14 games back of the second Wild Card spot.
The expected starter for the Royals is lefty Daniel Lynch (3-3, 5.12 ERA, 1.50 WHIP). The 24-year old rookie has turned things around after a trio of rough outings to begin his MLB career. Lynch fired seven innings, allowing one run on four hits with three walks and five strikeouts in a victory over these Astros his last time on the mound.
The Royals feature a pretty pedestrian offense that ranks 24th in the majors in both on-base percentage (.303) and slugging percentage (.389). All-Star starting catcher Salvador Perez is posting career marks at the dish, already surpassing his season-best in home runs (32) and tied for a career-best in RBIs (80). Outfielder Whit Merrifield is a threat on the bath paths, ranking second in the majors with 37 stolen bases and leading the Royals with 71 runs scored.
What to Know – Houston Astros
The Houston Astros have one of the best records in baseball and a stronghold on the AL West division. Houston’s dropped five of their last eight games but remained 3.5 games in front of the Oakland Athletics.
Veteran right-hander Zack Greinke (11-3, 3.43 ERA, 1.11 WHIP) is penciled in to start on the hill for the hosts. Since early July, Greinke hasn’t lost a start and has a 1.89 ERA in three starts in August. The 37-year old’s last outing was against the Royals, holding KC to one earned run over 6.0 innings on five hits and no strikeouts.
Houston’s offense continues to be one of the best in baseball, leading the league in on-base percentage (.340) and ranking second in slugging (.443). Designated hitter Yordan Alvarez has 25 home runs and a team-best 85 RBIs. After a step back at the plate in 2020, second baseman Jose Altuve has bounced back at the dish with 25 home runs, 67 RBIs, and 88 runs scored.
The Pick is In
Kansas City took three of four from the Astros last week and will try and continue building momentum as the calendar turns to September. Houston is in good shape for the postseason but would like to put some real estate between them and Oakland as the season winds down.
Both starters had success last week, and it’ll be hard to imagine Lynch having the same success he did previously. Even so, if Lynch can hold the Astros lineup to a handful of runs, Greinke should keep the Royals’ offense at bay in a low-scoring affair.
The Pick: Royals/Astros UNDER 9 runs