To utilize a cliché: What a difference a month makes.
When the Royals arrived at Target Field on June 8, they trailed the Twins by a game in the American League Central. Three games and three victories later, Kansas City reclaimed first place. They have yet to relinquish it. Even after getting swept by Houston this week, the Royals still lead by 4 1/2 games.
Few rival talent evaluators — at least those polled by The Star — saw Minnesota as a club with enough talent to last through the summer. The Twins went 11-17 in June. The Royals can create more distance this weekend at Kauffman Stadium. The team will play on an 11-game home stand before the All-Star break.
Here are the pitching matchups for this four-game series:
Thursday, 7:10 p.m.: RHP Chris Young (7-3, 2.71 ERA) vs. RHP Kyle Gibson (5-6, 3.30 ERA).
Friday, 7:10 p.m.: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (6-5, 5.68 ERA) vs. LHP Tommy Milone (4-1, 3.19 ERA).
Saturday, 6:15 p.m.: RHP Joe Blanton (2-1, 3.14 ERA) vs. RHP Mike Pelfrey (5-5, 3.81 ERA).
Sunday, 1:10 p.m.: LHP Danny Duffy (2-4, 5.44 ERA) vs. TBA
FROM THE STAR
1. The Royals were swept by the Astros.
2. Sam Mellinger wrote a column about Chris Young.
3. The Star’s daily video dispatch.
THE ROYALS’ PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE (ACCORDING TO BASEBALL PROSPECTUS)
HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC
“Should Have Known Better” by Sufjan Stevens.