Houston vs. Kansas City, 7:10 PM CT
The Astros return to the juice box with the sour taste of a quintessential National League loss, 1-0 to the Pirates. In a season full of firsts, Houston welcomes the Royals to Space City as a member of the American League. Kansas City no longer content with staying in the shadows of Tigers and White Sox, they made one of the biggest trades in the offseason. KC traded away their top-5 prospect Wil Myers to the Rays, for James Shields and Wade Davis.
At first glance, the trade could be called a draw. But it was a rare sign that the Royals were going for the brass ring. Kansas City also signed Ervin Santana away from the Angels and resigned Jeremy Guthrie. With the rotation set, the main question that still remains, will their young core become the Rays of years past - breaking through all at once to take a division crown? Or, will they become a group that never reached it's full potential?
Frankly, the Royals remind of the Astros we will mostly see in 2015. Moustakas, Hosmer, Perez, and Gordan are similar core to Springer, Singleton, Dominguez, and Castro. It's not a perfect example but it's at least closer to a winning roster then the Astros currently are. Turning to game today, Dallas Keuchel is on the mound for the Astros.
Keuchel has pitched 11 2/3 over his first 2 starts, allowing 6 ERs total to the Rangers and Tigers. Of those 6 ERs, 4 have come off the long ball. Keuchel will have keep to the ball down and improve upon his ERA against right-handed batters (5.79). As for the Astros hitter, Carlos Pena is batting .316 with a homerun in 19 at-bats against Guthrie. J.D. Martinez also has a solo homerun in 6 at-bats against the Royals righty.
Speaking of Mr. Guthrie, the three year-$25 million investment by Kansas City is already paying off. Guthrie has lowered his ERA by 1.94 runs from last year. That said in his last start, Guthrie gave up 5 ERs on 11 hits to the Angels. In one start against Houston in 2012, he gave up 5 ERs over 7 innings of work. Guthrie's key will be to keep his high fly ball rate from turning to a high homerun rate.