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Up next: The Blue Jays looking to get revenge on the Royals after last week’s series loss

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Photo credit:© Brian Bradshaw Seval - USA Today
Ryley Delaney
1 month ago
The past two series have been rough for the Blue Jays, as they lost three of four to the Kansas City Royals, and two of three to the Los Angeles Dodgers.
However, the Jays will have an opportunity to get revenge on the Royals, as these two teams play the second and final series of the season just a week after the first one ended. As it stands, the Royals are second in the American League Central with a 17-12 record, while the Blue Jays’ 14-15 has them third in the American League East.

Nuts and Bolts

Monday, April 29: 7:07 PM EST: Yariel Rodríguez (0-1, 3.86 ERA) vs Jonathan Bowlan (3-1, 2.57 in AAA)
Tuesday, April 30: 7:07 PM EST: José Berríos (4-1, 1.23 ERA)  vs Cole Ragans (1-2, 3.90 ERA)
Wednesday, May 1: 3:07 PM EST: Chris Bassitt (2-4, 5.64 ERA) vs Seth Lugo (4-1, 1.66 ERA)

Starting pitching

Like the last preview, Royals’ starters have the third lowest ERA in the league, as it sits at 2.98 (compared to 2.94 prior to the start of the first series). They are one of three teams with a sub 3 ERA, with the Boston Red Sox and Philadelphia Phillies being the other teams.
There’s a large gap between the third spot, and the fourth-spot, belonging to the New York Yankees with a 3.34 ERA. The Jays will avoid Brady Singer, which kind of sucks as he was the pitcher tagged with the loss in the last series between the two teams, giving up five earned runs in six innings.
Another pitcher they’ll avoid with a sub-3 ERA is Alec Marsh, as an Addison Barger comebacker to the arm landed him on the 15-day Injured List. Hence why Jonathan Bowlan was called up to replace him. This season in Triple-A, the 27-year-old has a 2.57 ERA and a 3.66 FIP in 21 innings pitched, along with a 25 K% and a 6 BB%.

Bullpen

The Blue Jays’ goal should be to get to the Royals’ bullpen as soon as possible, as it’s worse than their rotation. In 89 innings pitched by relievers, the Royals have a 3.54 ERA which ranks 11th in the league. It is worth mentioning that it has improved since the start of the series in Missouri, as it stood at 3.63 at that point.
Have you ever heard of James McArthur? To me, that sounds like an 11th-century Scottish noble, but nope, that’s the Royals’ closer this season. So far in 2024, he has a 2.84 ERA and a 1.68 FIP in 12.2 innings pitched, along with a 26.4 K% and a 3.8 BB%.  The 27-year-old has six saves in seven opportunities.
Other heavily used relievers are Chris Stratton (13 innings pitched, 6.23 ERA), John Schreiber (13 IP, 0.69 ERA, nice), Angel Zerpa (11.2 innings pitched, 2.31 ERA), and Nick Anderson (10 IP, 3.60 ERA). Will Smith is a pitcher who has been around forever, but his 10.61 ERA in 9.1 innings pitched is a big reason why the Royals sit in the middle of the pack. Matt Sauer also has 9.1 innings pitched, but a much better 1.93 ERA.

Offence

If there is one aspect that may sink the Royals as the season goes along, it could be their offence. Their 92 wRC+ ranks as the 22th-highest mark if you’re a glass-half-full person, or ninth-worst if you’re like me!
They have a similar OPS ranking, as their .683 OPS ranks 19th-best in the league, but ahead of Toronto’s .669 OPS (23rd in the league). What the Royals excel at is base running, as their 4.1 BsR stat is the third highest in the league, behind only the Cincinnati Reds and the Baltimore Orioles.
Bobby Witt Jr. is looking like a true superstar, as he’s slashing .308/.349/.547 with four homers in 126 plate appearances. Last season, he had a 115 wRC+, but that has risen to 149 on top of much improved defence thus far.
Salvador Pérez leads the team in home runs this season, as he’s slashing .340/.398/.592 with seven home runs in 113 plate appearances for a 177 wRC+. The 34-year-old catcher is seemingly getting better with age.

Final Verdict

After taking the first game of the series last week, the Blue Jays proceeded to lose three straight against the Royals, including a very odd get-away-game on Thursday that was called off due to poor field conditions. This was the only loss for José Berríos this season.
All of this is to say that the Royals aren’t the same team since their fraudulent 2015 World Series. This is a good team that may very well win the American League Central, and the Jays have to step their game up – plain and simple.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter @Ryley_L_D.

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