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The American League Central gets a big divisional rivalry going this weekend with the Minnesota Twins heading into Kauffman Stadium to take on the Kansas City Royals for a three-game series. Minnesota enters this series having lost their most recent series to the Chicago White Sox while Kansas City lost their series to the Boston Red Sox. For Friday’s contest, the Twins will have left-hander J.A. Happ starting while the Royals give the ball to right-hander Brady Singer to start.
Twins Need a Recharge
The team is in complete disarray and has been since the start of the season. They were just swept by the White Sox and are only a half-game out of last place, currently being held by the Royals. For a little less than a week in June, it looked as if Minnesota might turn things around as they were riding a five-game winning streak. But of course, since then, they’ve reverted back to their underachieving ways and have lost five of seven. They wound up finishing with an 11-14 record in June.
Happ has fought through this rough 2021 season although it has not exactly been kind to him. He currently holds a 4-3 record with a 5.83 ERA and a 1.45 WHIP over 14 starts this year. Now Happ goes on the road and faces a Royals team that already beat him almost exactly a month ago on June 3. In that game, also in Kansas City, he gave up five runs and nine hits, including three homers, in only five innings of work. Although he was better in June than in May, that isn’t saying much as he went five starts and posted a 6.93 ERA for the month.
Nothing Royal About It
If there’s any team worse off than the Twins right now, it would be the Royals. Not only were they just swept by the Red Sox, but they were also swept by the Rangers before that and have lost nine games in a row. They’re now sitting in fifth in the division with a 33-47 record, second-worst in the entire AL. The one silver lining for Kansas City is that their offense has a few strengths as they only strike out 8.74 times a game (fourth-best in the Majors) and they’re tenth overall in batting average (.244).
Kansas City’s pitching staff has been in a season-long rut and Singer has been an unfortunate contributor to that with his 3-6 record, 4.70 ERA, and 1.49 WHIP over 16 starts. That being said, he’s only 24-years-old so he’s going to have his ups and downs. While he had a great April, his ERA jumped to 6.66 in May before getting back on track in June with a 4.34 ERA. He’s pitched against Minnesota twice this year, fielding a 3.75 ERA and striking out eight over 7.2 innings of work.
Royals are 6-4 in their last 10 home games vs. the Twins.
Twins are 1-5 in their last 7 games as an underdog. Twins are 2-6 in their last 8 game 1’s of a series.