clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Houston Astros Visit Kansas City Royals — Series Preview

Houston lands in KC for three with Kings and Queens and Guillotines.

MLB: Game One-Kansas City Royals at Chicago White Sox Matt Marton-USA TODAY Sports

The Houston Astros kick off a three-game set against the consensus worst team in the major leagues.

Hopefully, the Astros take these guys seriously. The majors’ last “worst team,” the Oakland A’s, just took two of three from the good guys at MMP.

In that series, the Athletics opened with consecutive victories, first shutting out the Astros, 4-0 on Monday, then adding a 6-2 victory on Tuesday. Just when we were collectively getting ready to jump off a bridge (going by the comments in the GT, anyway), Hunter Brown and company came along and held the A’s hitless and scoreless until one out in the ninth. Ryan Pressly got the final two outs, also allowing a pair of runs on a pair of hits and a walk.


Three shots at the Royals over the next three days. What’s your prediction?

This poll is closed

  • 39%
    Three Astros wins
    (56 votes)
  • 45%
    Two Astros Wins
    (64 votes)
  • 13%
    One Astros Win
    (19 votes)
  • 2%
    No Astros Wins
    (3 votes)
142 votes total Vote Now

Aside from Pressly, the bullpen was perfect, with Rafael Montero, Hector Neris and Bryan Abreu pitching perfect sixth, seventh, and eighth innings respectively. Brown himself got the first 15 outs, striking out seven, walking two and hitting a batter. On the offensive side of the equation, Yordan Alvarez (27), Alex Bregman (23) and Kyle Tucker (27) drove in five of Houston’s six runs, with Yanier Diaz adding an RBI-double in the eventual 6-2 Astros victory.

After these three contests against the Royals, Houston will return home for three against the AL-best Baltimore Orioles and three more against these same Royals.

Houston and Kansas City last met last season, a seven-game series in which Houston won five times. In the last game, on July 7, the Astros won by a 5-2 score. Justin Verlander (11-3, 2.00) got the win, striking out eight against two walks and seven hits in six frames. He allowed both runs, but only one of them was earned. Phil Maton pitched a scoreless seventh, Rafael Montero struck out the side in the eighth, and Ryan Pressly (18, 3.38) pitched a flawless ninth for the save. Martin Maldonado went 3-for-3 with a double, and Jose Altuve hit a two-run home run in the win.

In their shared all-time history, the Astros are 50-38 for a .568 winning percentage. That’s Houston’s best record against an AL Central foe, and their fourth best overall. The Astros and Royals met once in the postseason, when Kansas City defeated Houston, three-games-to-two in the 2015 ALDS.

The Royals are suffering through their poorest season in history. Although they have suffered through 100-loss seasons on six occasions prior to 2023, their current .313 winning percentage is far-and-away their worst. They just completed a six-game road trip with two wins and four losses, and open a six-game homestand against Houston prior to the Cleveland Guardians coming to town.

In Kansas City’s last game, against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, the Royals won with the use of an Opener as Steven Cruz struck out four over two scoreless innings to start. Alec Marsh (1-8, 5.67) earned his first win of the season, striking out five over 4 13 innings. Michael Massey (13) went deep for KC, while Salvador Perez led the way with three hits and two RBI. Bobby Witt and Nick Loftin also posted multiple hits in the game.

GameTime and Starting Pitchers
Friday at 7:10 PM CT — Cristian Javier (9-3, 4.78) vs. Zack Greinke (1-15, 5.47)
Saturday at 6:10 PM CT — J.P. France (11-5, 3.61) vs. Cole Ragans (6-4, 3.01)
Sunday at 1:10 PM CT — Framber Valdez (11-10, 3.32) vs. Jordan Lyles (4-16, 6.44)

Houston Astros: 83-64, .565, first place in the AL West, one game ahead of the Texas Rangers and 1.5 games ahead of the Seattle Mariners. Third in the AL, well behind the Balstimore Orioles and the Tampa Bay Rays but in current possession of the second seed and a bye. Fifth in MLB. On pace for 91-71. Last 10: LWWWLWWLLW. Playoff Odds: 94.2 percent.

Kansas City Royals: 46-101, .313, last place in the AL Central, 30.5 games behind the Minnesota Twins. Last place in the AL, 46 games behind the Baltimore Orioles. Last in MLB. On pace for 51-111. Last 10: WWLLLLLLWW.

Team Leaders

AVG: Kyle Tucker .285, Mauricio Dubón .278, Alex Bregman .269; Bobby Witt Jr. .276, Mikael Garcia .273, Salvador Perez .253

OBP: Kyle Tucker .371, Alex Bregman .365, Jeremy Peña .323; Mikael Garcia .317, MJ Melendez .305

SLG: Kyle Tucker .510, Alex Bregman .449, Mauricio Dubón .407; Bobby Witt Jr. .494, Salvadore Perez .415, MJ Melendez .387

OPS: Kyle Tucker .881, Alex Bregman .814, Mauricio Dubón .716; Bobby Witt Jr. .811, Salvadore Perez .708, MJ Melendez .692

BB: Alex Bregman 80, Kyle Tucker 73, Yordan Alvarez 61; MJ Melendez 52, Bobby Witt Jr. 34, Maikel Garcia 33

HR: Yordan Alvarez & Kyle Tucker 27, Alex Bregman 23; Bobby Witt Jr. 28, Salvadore Perez 21, MJ Melendez 14

RBI: Kyle Tucker 105, Alex Bregman 84, Yordan Alvarez 88; Bobby Witt Jr. 88, Salvadore Perez 69, Michael Massey 51

SB: Kyle Tucker 28, Chas McCormick 16, Corey Julks 15 (note: Astros are 88-for-108 in stolen bases outside of Jeremy Peña, who is just 11-for-19); Bobby Witt Jr. 44, Mikail Garcia 21, Dairon Blanco 20

ERA: Framber Valdez 3.32; Brady Singer 5.51, Jordan Lyles 6.44

Wins: Hunter Brown, J.P. France & Framber Valdez 11; Brady Singer 8, Jordan Lyles and Cole Ragans 4-1.

WHIP: Framber Valdez 1.10; Jordan Lyles 1.28, Brady Singer 1.44

K’s: Framber Valdez 178, Hunter Brown 169, Cristian Javier 132; Brady Singer 129, Jordan Lyles 107, Zack Grienke 84

Who’s Hot (highest WPA vs. A’s)
Hunter Brown +21.7%
Yordan Alvarez +12.6%
Mauricio Dubon +6.0%
Yainer Diaz +5.2%
Joel Kuhnel +1.9%

Who’s Not (lowest WPA vs. A’s)
Chas McCormick -10.2%
Jose Altuve -11.5%
Jose Abreu -15.6%
Kyle Tucker -17.6%
Justin Verlander -23.4%

Franchise Leaderboard Check

At Bats
44. Kyle Tucker & Bob Lillis 1912

10. Bill Doran 611
11. Alex Bregman 606

35. Michael Bourn 302
36. Steve Finley 301
37. Kyle Tucker 299

15. Joe Morgan 972
16. Alex Bregman & Brad Ausmus 970

45. Rafael Ramierz 503
46. Yordan Alvarez 499

33. Phil Garner 119
34. Kyle Tucker 117
35. Craig Reynolds 112
36. Bob Aspromonte 111
37. Yordan Alvarez 109
38. Adam Everett 102
39. Denis Menke 101
40. Morgan Ensberg, Bill Spiers & Michael Brantley 99

Home Runs
7. Glenn Davis 166
8. Cesar Cedeno & Alex Bregman 163

15. Doug Rader 128
16. Yordan Alvarez 125

18. Ken Caminiti & Hunter Pence 103
20. Kyle Tucker 100

36. Rusty Staub 57
37. Martín Maldonado 56

41. Phil Garner, Jeff Kent, Mike Lamb, Daryle Ward & Eric Anthony 49,
46. Josh Reddick & Chas McCormick 48

26. Hunter Pence 377
27. Yordan Alvarez 371
28. Rusty Staub 370
29. Luis Gonzalez 366
30. Kyle Tucker 361

Stolen Bases
19. Lance Berkman 82
20. Kyle Tucker 81

44. Kazuo Matsui 40
45. Alex Bregman 39

30. Carlos Lee 246
31. Yordan Alvarez 241

37. Derek Bell 214
38. Kyle Tucker 213

Pitching Wins
19. Turk Farrell & Dave Smith 53
21. Framber Valdez & Mark Portugal 52

44. Brandon Backe, Greg Swindell & Denny Lemaster 30
47. Cristian Javier, Charlie Morton & Jack Billingham 29

Pitching Appearances
15. Jim Ray 278
16. Ryan Pressly 276

45. Vern Ruhle 184
46. Ryne Stanek 184