Starting on Friday, the Astros will play the Royals three times at Minute Maid Park.
Houston and Kansas City opened the season series against each other just last week, with the Royals taking two-of-three. The Astros will be looking for more than one win this time, as time is short and the postseason awaits (or not).
Houston has repeated a pattern in each of their last three series, dropping the first two and winning the finale. This happened with the Oakland Athletics, the Royals, and the Baltimore Orioles. These three games hosting Kansas City will conclude Houston’s home schedule for the 2023 campaign. Afterward, they’ll hit the road to complete their schedule with three each against the Seattle Mariners and the Arizona Diamondbacks.
In Houston’s last game, on Wednesday afternoon, Cristian Javier was in fine form despite no decision. He struck out 11 in five innings of work, holding the Orioles to one run on three hits. Houston’s offense waited until late to open their half of the scoreboard, with Jeremy Peña tying the game at one in the eighth on an RBI-double, knocking in Mauricio Dubón. In the ninth, Dubón drove home Yainer Diaz with the walk-off game-winning single.
After taking two-of-three from the Astros, the Royals stayed at Kauffmann Stadium and swept the visiting Cleveland Guardians in three games. In the final game of the set, Kansas City won a 6-2 decision. After Zack Greinke gave up two runs in 3 2⁄3 innings (striking out five), Angel Zerpa (3-3, 4.82) finished the game by pitching the final 5 1⁄3 frames without allowing a run. He gave up three hits and struck out four. Nelson Velázquez (15) went deep, while Bobby Witt, Nick Loftin and Drew Waters managed multiple hits in the game.
The last time the Royals and Astros met was this past Sunday, when Houston posted a 7-1 victory. Framber Valdez (12-10, 3.20) earned the win, allowing only an unearned run in seven otherwise shutout innings. He whiffed five and gave up six hits and a walk. Bryan Abreu and Kendall Graveman pitched a shutout inning each. Chas McCormick and Jose Altuve managed three hits apiece, while Yordan Alvarez (28) and Jake Meyers (10) tagged Royals starter Jordan Lyles (4-17, 6.43) with a home run each.
In all-time head-to-head play, the Astros own a 51-40 edge, a .560 winning percentage that ranks as Houston’s fifth best overall and their second best against the AL Central.
Houston Astros: 85-68, .556. First place in the AL West, 1⁄2 game ahead of the Seattle Mariners and the Texas Rangers. Fourth in the AL, 1⁄2 game game behind the Toronto Blue Jays. Seventh in MLB. Last 10: WLLWLLWLLW. On pace for 90-72. Playoff Odds: 84.6 percent.
Kansas City Royals: 51-102, .333. Fifth place in the AL Central, 30 games behind the Minnesota Twins. 14th in the AL, 44.5 games behind the Baltimore Orioles and 4.5 games ahead of the Oakland Athletics. 29th in MLB. Last 10: LLWWWWLWWW. On pace for: 54-108. Playoff Odds: >40 percent (next year).
Gametime and Starting Pitchers
Friday at 7:10 PM CT — Cole Ragans (6-4, 3.33) vs. Framber Valdez (12-10, 3.20)
Saturday at 6:10 PM CT — TBD vs. JP France (11-5, 3.84)
Sunday at 1:10 PM CT — TBD vs. Hunter Brown (11-12, 4.87)
Houston has three more tries to get the ship settled for the stretch run against the Royals before things get serious with the M’s and D-Backs in the leadup to the postseason. How many wins will Houston come away with?
This poll is closed