Interleague Battle: Previewing Royals Versus Astros

ST. LOUIS, MO - JUNE 17: Billy Butler #16 of the Kansas City Royals is congratulated after hitting a game-tying solo home run against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 17, 2012 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Royals beat the Cardinals 5-3 in 15 innings. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

Royals are gaining steam in the standings as they face off against a sliding Astros club.

The Royals (29-35) capped off an impressive week going 5-1 against the Brewers and I-70 rival Cardinals, now sitting just 5 games back of the division lead. They hope to maintain momentum as they begin a series In Houston (27-39) tonight. First pitch is at 7:05 CT.

Projected Starting Pitchers:

Tonight- Jonathan Sanchez (1-2 5.93 ERA, 5.86 xFIP) vs J.A. Happ (4-7 5.33 ERA, 3.82 xFIP)

Tuesday - Luke Hochevar (3-7 6.23 ERA, 4.23 xFIP) vs Wandy Rodriguez (6-4 3.35 ERA, 3.93 xFIP)

Wednesday - Vin Mazzaro (3-1 2.57 ERA, 4.32 xFIP) vs Jordan Lyles (1-3 5.50 ERA, 4.90 xFIP)

Kansas City is currently 5th in the AL in batting. (.260) Houston is currently 10th in the NL in batting. (.249)

Jed Lowrie (.272-351-507) leads the club with 13 homers, Jose Altuve (.317-359-462) also deserves all star consideration.

Alex Gordon has been very productive as of late setting the table for the Royals. In his last 10 games he's batting .333 with a .469 OBP.

Notes: D'Andre Toney was the player to be named later in the Humberto Quintero and Jason Bourgeois deal. Toney was impressive in his professional debut in rookie ball last year. (340-432-587) in 150 AB's. Kevin Chapman, also included in the deal to Houston is 4-3 with a 2.45 ERA for AA Corpus Christi. He remains erratic with 25BB in 29 1/3 IP, but he does have an impressive 34 K's.

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