KCR

Series beginning
09/17/2021

Kansas City Royals

With just 16 games remaining in the season, the Mariners start their last road trip of 2021 in the city of fountains, home to a team that plays better than their record but is still, frankly, not a great club. The Kansas City Royals are on the verge of playoff elimination with 80 losses and already looking ahead to 2022.

They do own a 3-1 record against the M's, though, having won the series in Seattle last month; all were close games, two of which involved the Mariners blowing leads in games they arguably should have won. Joe Smith gave up a grand slam to KC's best batter, Salvador Pérez, to lose the opener for Yusei Kikuchi, then the next night Pérez delivered another slam early on before reliever Yohan Ramírez served up a game-winning homer to Edward Oliveras in the 10th. In all, Hopefully the Seattle bullpen will perform better this time around.

Since we last saw them, the Royals have tread water winning 7 of 16, with Pérez continuing to rake (the KC catcher owns a line of .300/.348/.650 in September) along with shortstop Nicky López (.349/.414/.444 in September). Outfielder Andrew Benintendi is also hot, and though he hasn't been hitting, speedy infielder Adalberto Mondesi returned from injury on September 1st to give the Royals more of their normal identity on the field.

The Royals have a strong offense overall that reminds one of an older style of baseball, with aggressive baserunning and contact hitting. They are last in the American League in homers despite Pérez's monster year (45 HR, 112 RBI to date), yet fifth in batting average, third in fewest strikeouts, and first in steals, though that hasn't translated into a great many runs. They don't walk enough to make that batting average really hurt, with the exception of first baseman Carlos Santana, who has the Jake Fraley-like tendency to walk a lot and hit a little.

KC will start Brady Singer, Kris Bubic, and Jakcson Kowar in the three games. Singer faced the M's on August 29th and had a no-decision in the Royals' only loss of that series, throwing six strong innings at TMP; Bubic was hit hard by the M's on the 27th, lasting only 413 innings while giving up nine hits and four walks; the rookie Jackson has not seen Seattle yet, but is coming off a brutal start against Oakland that lasted just one inning and resulted in five runs. Those three will be opposed by Chris Flexen, Yusei Kikuchi, and Logan Gilbert for the Mariners. 

Splits

Last ten 5-5
Home 35-37
vs. LHP 25-22
vs. RHP 41-58
One-run games 20-19
vs. AL West 13-17
vs. Mariners 3-1

Who’s Hot & Not

Last 10 games

Salvador Pérez
.293/.333/.585, 4 HR, 10 RBI

Nicky López
.386/.438/.500, 3 XBH, 5 RBI

Andrew Benintendi
.525/.556/.850, 3 HR, 18 RBI

Carlos Santana
.135/.200/.236, 7 Ks

Ryan O'Hearn
.136/.240/.136, 5 Ks

Adalberto Mondesi
.147/.216/.235, 15 Ks

Last 3 series vs. Seattle

8/29/21 SEA 4, KC 3
8/28/21 KC 4, SEA 2
8/27/21 KC 8, SEA 7
8/26/21 KC 6, SEA 4
6/19/19 SEA , KC 2
6/18/19 KC 9, SEA 0
6/17/19 KC 6, SEA 4
4/11/19 SEA 7, KC 6
4/10/19 SEA 6, KC 5
4/9/19 SEA 6, KC 3
4/8/19 SEA 13, KC 5

Manager

matheny

Mike Matheny: A longtime big-league catcher, Matheny was a standout defender on several postseason clubs until retiring out of health concerns after suffering a series of concussions behind the plate. He began his managerial career cold, having no previous professional managing or coaching experience, yet led his Cardinals to four consecutive playoff berths; the Cards fired him in the middle of the 2018 season despite his great success in St. Louis (overall .560 winning percentage) because of alleged personal conflicts in the clubhouse and altercations with the media. To his credit, Matheny owned up to his shortcomings in St. Louis and has tried to learn from his mistakes. "I came in completely over my skis," he said of his first managerial gig, "everybody knew that. I was unprepared and I was untrained." Now in his second year at the helm of the Royals, Matheny seems to have better relationships with his players than he did at the end of his Cardinals tenure and is a new convert to the more analytics-based school of managing. 

Familiar Face

tapia

Domingo Tapia: If you blinked, you missed him, but Tapia suited up for the Mariners this season, albeit in just two games. A waiver claim from the Red Sox, the M's picked up the right-handed reliever over the offseason and added him to the big-league bullpen on May 1st. He threw two scoreless innings in two appearances before getting sent down to Tacoma, then despite a solid (if brief—five appearances only) tenure with the Rainiers, was dealt to the Royals at the end of May for cash considerations. KC promoted him back to the big leagues after the All-Star break, and he's been excellent for them: 1.78 ERA and 0.987 WHIP in 25 appearances as a Royal.

Franchise History

Kansas City Royals(1969 - present)
 
World Champions:1985, 2015
League Champions:1980, 2014
Division Titles:1976, 1977, 1978, 1981 (split-season), 1984

— Notes —

Carlos Santana: You may not have noticed, but for a brief ten days, Santana was a Mariner. He never suited up, though, as it was during the offseason; in December 2018, the switch-hitting first baseman came to the M's as part of the J.P. Crawford trade, only to be dealt away days later to Cleveland for Edwin Encarnación. Another player in the convoluted deal with Seattle, Cleveland, and Tampa Bay was current Mariner Jake Bauers, who went to Cleveland from the Rays in the trade.