Royals and Cardinals to play two in front of Royals' dads
Families of young baseball players are used to sitting through lots of games as the players grow up.
That memory will come in handy as the Kansas City Royals and the St. Louis Cardinals will play a doubleheader Wednesday to conclude the Royals' fathers' trip. The regularly scheduled game was rained out Tuesday, setting up the day-night double-header.
The Royals have invited players' fathers to join them for one road trip per season since 2013, modeled after the Pittsburgh Penguins hockey team.
A fathers' trip is a common occurrence in the NHL. It's an abnormality in baseball. There are daily functions scheduled for the fathers and sons during the trip. The main events each day, of course, are the games themselves.
While the dads enjoy watching their sons and other men's sons play, the sons will have to focus on the task at hand.
Four right-handers will take the starting assignments. Kansas City's Brad Keller (2-5, 4.66) will face the Cardinals' Michael Wacha (3-1, 4.93) in Game 1. Homer Bailey (4-4, 5.36 ERA) will square off with Adam Wainwright (3-4, 4.75 ERA) in the night-cap.
The Cardinals own a 56-41 advantage in the all-time regular-season series. Absent a sweep by either club, both teams will continue their run of futility. Both clubs have lost five consecutive series.
The Royals haven't won a series since a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians from April 12-14, going 0-9-1 in 10 series during that span, and they have not won a series on the road all season.
The Cardinals have not won a series since a sweep at Washington from April 29-May 1. They are 5-13 in May.
"Guys scratching and clawing didn't get the reward," St. Louis manager Mike Shildt told reporters Sunday after the Cardinals' 5-4 loss in 10 innings to the Texas Rangers. "Ultimately we've got to put it together."
Inconsistency continues to plague St. Louis. One game the offense struggles (two combined runs in the final two games in Atlanta), while other games see the starters not getting the job done (Miles Mikolas allowed seven runs in less than two innings against Texas on Friday).
Sometimes it's the bullpen, as was the case Sunday when Andrew Miller gave up a go-ahead run in the eighth inning and Jordan Hicks gave up two runs in the 10th.
Wacha has not been his usual dominating self. He seems to be battling mechanics and his fastball has lost some zip. He has not pitched more than six innings in any start this season, and his walks and hits to innings pitched (WHIP) is 1.64. He has walked 26 batters in 42 innings.
Bailey left his last start after only 4 1/3 innings when he fell apart following a good first four innings against the Rangers. He has a poor career mark against the Cardinals: 6-15 with a 5.56 ERA in 27 starts. Keller will be making his first start against the Cardinals. He had two relief appearances in 2018, allowing no runs or hits in two innings.
Wacha is 3-1 with a 2.56 ERA in six career starts vs. Kansas City. Wainwright is 4-2 with a 3.71 ERA in 11 games (eight starts) against the Royals.
The Royals have endured inconsistencies similar to those of the Cardinals.
Though the offense, primarily in the top half, has been productive, they haven't consistently come through in the clutch.
"Right now we're just not driving in runs," Royals manager Ned Yost told the media. "It's not anything that you can point your finger at. It's just the ups and downs of the game. You know, you get hot. Then sometimes you just get cold. Right now, we're a little on the cold side."
--Field Level Media