Series Preview: Atlanta Braves at Kansas City Royals

Kyle Rivas

Atlanta has somehow never played at Kansas City during interleague play, but that ends tonight with a brief two-game series in the land of barbecue. Just like the Braves, the Royals ended a skid by winning Sunday's game and are 5-5 in their last ten games.

On the year, Kansas City sits in third place in the American League Central at 35-38, 6.5 games back of the division leading Detroit Tigers. The two teams split a two-game set in Atlanta in the middle of April, with the Braves winning 6-3 and the Royals winning 1-0.

Offensively, the Royals are near the bottom of the American League in almost every offensive category. As a team, they rank seventh in the American League in batting average (.257), 11th in on-base average (.311), dead last in slugging percentage (.369), 13th on wOBA (.298), 13th in wRC+ (85), 13th in walk rate (6.7%), 14th in strikeout rate (17.4%), and dead last in ISO (.112).

Individually, the Royals are being led by the duo of "Country Breakfast" Billy Butler and left fielder Alex Gordon. Butler has the highest wRC+ (113) among Royals players with more than 100 plate appearances. He's hitting .268/.379/.390 with a .339 wOBA and a 15% walk rate. He has five homers but a career low .122 ISO.

Gordon comes in with a triple slash of .288/.345/.413 with a .332 wOBA and 108 wRC+ to go with a .125 ISO. June hasn't been kind to Gordon though, as evidenced by his .468 OPS and a 36 wRC+.

Lorenzo Cain ranks second on the team in fWAR at 1.4 thanks to his great defense in center, but he's hitting .262/.325/.380 with a .310 wOBA and a 93 wRC+. Catcher Salvador Perez is sporting a .293/.316/.401 with a .312 wOBA and a 95 wRC+. Perez has never walked much in his career going back to the minors, and that hasn't changed this year with a minuscule 2.6% walk rate.

Eric Hosmer continues to not hit for power with just a .102 ISO while Mike Moustakas continues to not hit at all with a 56 wRC+. Jeff Francoeur has a 54 wRC+ and has been worth -0.7 wins according to Fangraphs.

The Kansas City bullpen has been solid thanks to a fantastic start to the season from closer Greg Holland. Holland has a 1.93 ERA, 1.55 FIP, and a 1.94 xFIP to go with a 40% strikeout rate and a 10% walk rate. Left-hander Tim Collins has been good as well, but has had some control problems as well with a 11% walk rate and a 25% strikeout rate.

Bruce Chen hasn't been nearly as good as he ERA says, while Luke Hochevar has been pretty solid but has some regression coming in terms of strand rate and BABIP.

Pitching matchups:

Tuesday June 25th, 8:10 PM EDT. SportSouth

Kris Medlen

#54 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves





Oct 07, 1985

Ervin Santana

#54 / Pitcher / Kansas City Royals





Dec 12, 1982

Wednesday June 26th, 8:10 PM EDT. SportSouth

Mike Minor

#36 / Pitcher / Atlanta Braves





Dec 26, 1987

Luis Mendoza

#39 / Pitcher / Kansas City Royals





Oct 31, 1983

Kauffman Stadium



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