After Kansas City's pleasant road series victory over the Los Angeles Angels, the Royals will look to continue the solid play of the past two games as they head to Oakland to face the 1-3 Oakland Athletics.
Monday evening will showcase an interesting pitching matchup of Luis Mendoza vs lefty Tom Milone. Both pitchers put together great springs in Arizona and will look to get off to hot starts during the regular season. Mendoza was the Pacific Coast League pitcher of the season last year and in two late season starts with Kansas City last year, was 2-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 14.2 innings pitched. His career resurgence can be attributed to the development of his sinking fastball.
Milone will be making his Oakland debut, as he was one of the players the A's received in the Gio Gonzalez deal with the Washington Nationals in December. The 25-year old started five games last year for Washington and was 1-0 with a 3.81 ERA. He struck out 15 while walking just four 26 total innings pitched. Despite his 6'0" frame, Milone has been noted as a strikeout pitcher.
This may actually bode well for the Royals with Alex Gordon, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas all batting from the left side. In the 11 plate appearances by left-handed hitters against Milone last season, two hit doubles and one hit a home run.
In closing the books on the series in Anaheim, it was great to see Hosmer get off to a hot start. He hit two home runs, collected four RBI, and had 10 total bases in the series. Also something must be said for Humberto Quintero so far at the plate. He's collected three of the team's four doubles so far, and just missed a couple long shots today. This is great news for someone we didn't expect any offense from.
On the negative, the trio of Gordon, Moustakas, and Lorenzo Cain really struggled at the plate. The group went a combined 2-for-35 in the series, and Gordon struck out six times.
However as we know, the sample size is very small thus far and things will turn around soon. No one likely had Gordon pegged as the only Royals player that has seen action so far without a hit.
The starting pitching staff, which is the area that as Royals fans worried most, has been great so far. It's the bullpen that has been shaky. Greg Holland and Aaron Crow have looked especially troubling, but I wouldn't be too worried at this point.
Monday night's game can be viewed on Fox Sports Kansas City and first pitch is 9:05 CST. Looking ahead Danny Duffy faces Graham Godfrey on Tuesday night, while Wednesday afternoon will feature Bruce Chen against Brandon McCarthy.