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St. Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals: Return of the Jack (Flaherty)

They just played so nothing new here.

Kansas City Royals v St Louis Cardinals Photo by Scott Kane/Getty Images


The Offense

The St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals just played against each other last week. Not much has changed since then for the Royals. The Royals have a wRC+ of 87, which is down from the 89 they were at a week ago, which puts them at 25th in the league in that stat which is up from 27th overall. Sal Perez is still the best hitter on the team with a 120 wRC+. Edward Olivares was hot since being called up on July 31, but went hittless in nine plate appearances against the Cardinals. He was sent back down on 8/10 in exchange for reliever Joel Payamps.

The Fielding

In the field we still have the same defenders to watch. Michael A. Taylor is a rising star on defense in in centerfield, Nicky Lopez impresses at shortstop, and Whit Merrifield gets it done all over the field. The Cardinals saw this first hand last weekend.

The Pitching

Jeez, even the pitchers are the same. I am just going to copy what I said last weekend, is everyone okay with that? Cool.

All three of the starters have had trouble giving up homers, with Minor having a HR/9 at 1.45 in over 130 innings and Keller having HR/9 at 1.23 in over 116 innings. Bubic’s HR/9 in 61 innings as a starter is just over 2.5, but overall with his reliever innings included is 1.79. In over 24 innings as a reliever Kris Bubic did not surrender any home runs.

Minor’s issues this season have been with his changeup and slider. He throws these pitches each around 20% of the time and has allowed a .407 and .517 slugging percentage on them, respectively. For Brad Keller it has been the 4-seamer and sinker that are getting hit — the batting average against those pitches are .333 and .336, respectively.. He throws a good slider about 34% of the time and throws his fastballs a combined 60% of the time. He only throws his changeup about 6% of the time and it has been crushed with a .625 SLG against it in the 129 times he has thrown it.

Kris Bubic is in his second season of work. He throws a fastball around 90 mph about half the time. A third of the time he will complement that with a changeup and then pepper in a curveball around 16% of the time. His four-seamer is his best pitch — he has just 12 extra base hits against it. His changeup is another story, though. Bubic has given up 17 homers in just over 80 innings, 12 of those coming off his changeup. (In the preview for last weekend I illustrated this by sharing location maps of Bubic’s changeup compared to Zack Greinke’s.) This is an increase from last weekend from 11 homers off the changeup to 12. Here is the home run he gave up — note the location:

Old friend Greg Holland leads the Royals in saves with 7, but the best reliever this season for Kansas City has been Scott Barlow and he is right behind Holland with 6 saves. He has the lowest FIP on the team at 2.32 and the second-lowest ERA after Duffy at 2.65. He primarily throws a slider, a pretty good one too, and then secondarily throws a 4-seamer and curveball.

Other News

In case you hadn’t heard Jack Flaherty is back for the Cardinals. He will be making his return after suffering an oblique injury on May 31.

The Matchups:

Friday, August 13 at 7:10 pm CT: Jack Flaherty vs. Mike Minor
Saturday, August 14 at 6:10 pm CT: Jon Lester vs. Brad Keller
Sunday, August 8 at 1:10 pm CT: J.A. Happ vs. Kris Bubic