Opinion

Breaking down the Royals’ remaining opponents and series

Texas Rangers (three games)

When/where: Sept. 1-3 at Kauffman Stadium

Game times/TV: 7:10 each night on Fox Sports Kansas City

Rangers record: 53-81 (through Friday)

Season series: Royals lead 2-1

When

Where

Score

Winning pitcher

Aug. 22

at Texas

W, 6-3

Yordano Ventura

Aug. 23

at Texas

W, 6-3

Jeremy Guthrie

Aug. 24

at Texas

L, 3-1

Scott Baker

Key hitters:

Hitter

Pos.

Avg.

OBP

SLG

Adrian Beltre

3B

.327

.380

.500

Elvis Andrus

SS

.268

.322

.339

Alex Rios

RF

.280

.309

.399

Key starting pitchers:

Pitcher

W

L

ERA

IP

Nick Tepesch

4

8

4.44

97 1/3

Colby Lewis

9

11

5.44

137 1/3

Nick Martinez

3

10

5.31

105

Lee Judge’s take: Don’t let a bunch of no-names beat you. The Rangers have had a lot of injuries (Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder are out for the season, for example), and that means the Royals are facing their replacements. The toughest pitcher a hitter might face is a pitcher he’s never faced before. Same goes for a pitcher facing an unfamiliar hitter. You can read the scouting reports and watch video, but until you face someone live, you don’t know for sure. And if they’re smart, the replacements will play hard; it’s a chance for them to show the manager and front-office guys what they can do at the big-league level. Don’t come in thinking you’ve got it made and then get beat by someone you’ve never heard of.

New York Yankees (three games)

When/where: Sept. 5-7 at Yankee Stadium

Game times/TV: 6:05 Sept. 5, Fox Sports Kansas City; 3:05 Sept. 6, Fox Sports 1; 12:05 Sept. 7, Fox Sports Kansas City

Yankees record: 70-63 (through Friday)

Season series: Series tied 2-2

When

Where

Score

Winning pitcher

June 6

at KC

L, 4-2

Chase Whitley

June 7

at KC

W, 8-4

Aaron Crow

June 8

at KC

W, 2-1

James Shields

Aug. 25

at KC

L, 8-1

Michael Pineda

Key hitters:

Hitter

Pos.

Avg.

OBP

SLG

Mark Teixeira

1B

.226

.327

.421

Derek Jeter

SS

.262

.309

.313

Jacoby Ellsbury

CF

.286

.347

.431

Key starting pitchers:

Pitcher

W

L

ERA

IP

Hiroki Kuroda

9

8

3.88

167

Brandon McCarthy

5

3

2.47

58 1/3

Michael Pineda

3

3

2.09

43

Judge’s take: Don’t get caught up in the hype. When the Royals visit Yankee Stadium, it will be a non-stop Derek Jeter Fest. If you’re standing at second base getting teary-eyed and enjoying your moment with a Future Hall of Famer, you’re probably not paying attention to what’s going on in the game. Step on the Yankees’ throat and congratulate Jeter on a great career after you beat the hell out of his team.

Detroit Tigers (six games)

When/where: Sept. 8-10 at Comerica Park; Sept. 19-21 at Kauffman Stadium

Game times/TV: 6:08 each night Sept. 8-10, Fox Sports Kansas City; 7:10 Sept. 19, 6:10 Sept. 20, 1:10 Sept. 21, all games Fox Sports Kansas City

Tigers record: 73-60 (through Friday)

Season series: Tigers lead 9-4

When

Where

Score

Winning pitcher

Mar. 31

at Detroit

L, 4-3

Joe Nathan

April 2

at Detroit

L, 2-1

Al Alburquerque

May 2

at KC

L, 8-2

Rick Porcello

May 3

at KC

L, 9-2

Drew Smyly

May 4

at KC

L, 9-4

Justin Verlander

June 16

at Detroit

W, 11-8

Jason Vargas

June 17

at Detroit

W, 11-4

Yordano Ventura

June 18

at Detroit

W, 2-1

Jeremy Guthrie

June 19

at Detroit

L, 2-1

Anibal Sanchez

July 10

at KC

L, 16-4

Drew Smyly

July 11

at KC

L, 2-1

Anibal Sanchez

July 12

at KC

L, 5-1

Rick Porcello

July 13

at KC

W, 5-2

Yordano Ventura

Key hitters:

Hitter

Pos.

Avg.

OBP

SLG

Miguel Cabrera

1B

.301

.366

.491

Victor Martinez

DH

.328

.395

.553

Torii Hunter

RF

.280

.317

.452

Key starting pitchers:

Pitcher

W

L

ERA

IP

Max Scherzer

15

4

3.13

181

Rick Porcello

15

8

3.06

173 1/3

Justin Verlander

12

11

4.68

171 1/3

Judge’s take: Get their starting pitchers out of the game as early as you can and do some damage against their bullpen. Whenever possible, work around Miguel Cabrera — don’t let their best player beat you. Victor Martinez is key: If Martinez is hot, you might have to pitch to Cabrera. If Martinez scuffles, you can avoid Miggy and put the pressure on someone else.

Boston Red Sox (four games)

When/where: Sept. 11-14 at Kauffman Stadium

Game times/TV: 7:10 each night on Fox Sports Kansas City

Red Sox record: 59-75 (through Friday)

Season series: Red Sox lead 3-0

When

Where

Score

Winning pitcher

July 18

at Boston

L, 5-4

Clay Buchholz

July 19

at Boston

L, 2-1

Rubby De La Rosa

July 20

at Boston

L, 6-0

Jon Lester

Key hitters:

Hitter

Pos.

Avg.

OBP

SLG

David Ortiz

DH

.267

.362

.520

Dustin Pedroia

2B

.281

.341

.380

Yoenis Cespedes

LF

.262

.303

.467

Key starting pitchers:

Pitcher

W

L

ERA

IP

Clay Buchholz

5

8

5.77

131

Rubby De La Rosa

4

5

3.81

82 2/3

Joe Kelly

2

3

4.14

63

Judge’s take: Avoid David Ortiz. He’s a big-game-drama guy and might get tougher late in the game, especially if it’s an important at-bat. And don’t let Dustin Pedroia beat you with his glove, bat or mind. The Red Sox second baseman has a reputation for being one of the smartest players in the game; he’ll recognize a situation before you do and use that knowledge to beat you.

Chicago White Sox (seven games)

When/where: Sept. 15-17 at Kauffman Stadium, Sept. 25-28 at U.S. Cellular Field

Game times/TV: 7:10 each night Sept. 15-17 on Fox Sports Kansas City; 7:10 Sept. 25-26, 6:10 Sept. 27, 1:10 Sept. 28, all on Fox Sports Kansas City

White Sox record: 60-74 (through Friday)

Season series: Royals lead 8-4

When

Where

Score

Winning pitcher

April 4

at KC

W, 7-5

Jeremy Guthrie

April 5

at KC

W, 4-3

Wade Davis

April 6

at KC

L, 5-1

James Shields

May 19

at KC

L, 7-6

Jason Vargas

May 20

at KC

L, 7-6

Yordano Ventura

May 21

at KC

W, 3-1

Wade Davis

June 13

at White Sox

W, 7-2

Jeremy Guthrie

June 14

at White Sox

W, 9-1

Danny Duffy

June 15

at White Sox

W, 6-3

James Shields

July 21

at White Sox

L, 3-1

Jeremy Guthrie

July 22

at White Sox

W, 7-1

Bruce Chen

July 23

at White Sox

W

W, 2-1

Wade Davis

Key hitters:

Hitter

Pos.

Avg.

OBP

SLG

Jose Abreu

1B

.316

.375

.604

Alexei Ramirez

SS

.283

.315

.417

Adam Dunn

DH

.219

.339

.425

Key starting pitchers:

Pitcher

W

L

ERA

IP

Chris Sale

10

3

2.03

142

Jose Quintana

6

10

3.48

165 2/3

Hector Noesi

8

8

4.30

134

Judge’s take: Keep Adam Dunn in the ballpark. Dunn has more than 450 home runs, and he goes for the cheap seats with almost every swing. Like Victor Martinez in Detroit, pay attention to the guy hitting behind Dunn. If that guy hits well, you may have to pitch to Dunn; if not, maybe you can work around him. And don’t let Paul Konerko beat you on an off-speed pitch. At this point in his career, Konerko has a “slider-speed” bat, which means he can’t catch up with a good fastball unless he starts his swing early. If you throw him an off-speed pitch, don’t hang it.

Cleveland Indians (four games)

When/where: Sunday at Kauffman Stadium; Sept. 22-24 at Progressive Field;

Game times/TV: 7:07 Sunday, 6:05 p.m. Sept. 22-24. All games on Fox Sports Kansas City except Aug. 31, which is on ESPN2.

Indians record: 69-64 (through Friday)

Season series: Series tied 7-7 (through Friday)

When

Where

Score

Winning pitcher

Key moment

April 21

at Cleveland

L, 4-3

Zach McAllister

April 22

at Cleveland

W, 8-2

James Shields

April 23

at Cleveland

L, 5-3

Bryan Shaw

April 24

at Cleveland

L, 5-1

Corey Kluber

June 10

at KC

W, 9-5

Jason Vargas

June 11

at KC

W, 4-1

Yordano Ventura

July 4

at Cleveland

W, 7-1

Yordano Ventura

July 5

at Cleveland

L, 7-3

T. J. House

July 6

at Cleveland

L, 4-1

Corey Kluber

July 24

at KC

W, 2-1

Aaron Crow

July 25

at KC

W, 6-4

Kelvin Herrera

July 26

at KC

W, 7-5

Jeremy Guthrie

July 27

at KC

L, 10-3

Danny Salazar

Aug. 29

at KC

L, 6-1

Danny Salazar

Key hitters:

Hitter

Pos.

Avg.

OBP

SLG

Michael Brantley

LF

.310

.369

.496

Lonnie

Chisenhall

3B

.292

.356

.456

Carlos Santana

1B

.229

.368

.429

Key starting pitchers:

Pitcher

W

L

ERA

IP

Corey Kluber

13

8

2.52

192 2/3

Danny Salazar

5

6

4.23

78 2/3

Trevor Bauer

5

7

4.18

118 1/3

Judge’s take: Corey Kluber is tough on Kansas City — the Royals have hit .203 off him — so if he’s one of the pitchers the Royals will face in that three-game series, make sure you win the two other games. The Indians can struggle defensively, so get the ball in play and be aggressive on the base paths. Make the Indians make plays.

  Comments