Kansas City Royals at Houston Astros
When and Where: Monday, May 6, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas, 8:10 p.m. EDT.
Having finally gotten some run support last time out, Gerrit Cole looks to make it back-to-back wins Monday night when the Houston Astros begin a three-game series versus the Kansas City Royals.
Junis hitting groove for Royals
Jakob Junis (3-2, 5.12 ERA) is looking to win a third consecutive start after picking up his effectiveness following a rough opening to 2019.
The right-hander matched his longest outing of the year Wednesday, pitching 6 1-3 innings and holding the Tampa Bay Rays to two runs and six hits in a 3-2 victory.
Jakob Junis, Ian Kennedy hold down Rays as Royals win doubleheader opener https://t.co/1oVLOdwrJQ
— The Kansas City Star (@KCStar) May 1, 2019
“Having some success in Tampa with that start, we kinda just went in sticking with the same game plan,” Junis told the Kansas City Star. “We were going to adjust on the fly if we needed to. Not as many strikeouts today, obviously. They were probably sitting on my slider a little more, but we got outs when we needed to and got deep enough into the game to let the bullpen do their job.”
Opponents are hitting .286 against Junis, though that number dips to .258 on the road — where the righty is 1-1 with a 4.41 ERA in three starts. He is 0-1 with a 10.00 ERA in two starts versus the Astros, getting tagged for six runs and seven hits — three of them home runs — in 5 1-3 innings of a 7-3 loss in the lone meeting last year.
Carlos Correa is 3 for 5 with a homer lifetime versus Junis.
Cole racking up strikeouts, now trying to rack up wins
Cole (2-4, 3.95) has struck out at least six in every start, and his 65 led the majors entering play Sunday. The left-hander had been backed with only 11 runs in his first six starts before the Astros matched that Tuesday as he tossed seven one-hit innings while fanning 11 in an 11-0 rout of Minnesota on Tuesday.
Fans are hurling baseballs, gloves and hats up to Gerrit Cole, who is standing outside the Astros clubhouse to sign in Mexico pic.twitter.com/irMJYmLXXG
— Chandler Rome (@Chandler_Rome) May 4, 2019
“I just tried to fill up the zone in the second and try to find where the middle of the zone was,” Cole told The Associated Press. “I just got better command of my off-speed stuff, and I was able to just attack the zone better.”
Cole, who is holding opposing hitters to a .190 average, is 0-1 with a 3.21 ERA in two home starts and has been backed with only four runs in those games. The right-hander was effective in beating Kansas City in his lone matchup last year, yielding one run while striking out eight in five innings of an 11-3 victory.
His only other appearance versus the Royals was a road loss in 2015 while pitching for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Despite batting just .143 on the season, Chris Owens could be in line for a start for the Royals since he is 5 for 12 with four doubles versus Cole.
The Royals are:
- 0-6 in Junis’ last six starts vs. AL West teams.
- 3-8 in Junis’ last 11 starts during game 1 of a series.
- 1-6 in their last seven games vs. the Astros
The Astros are:
- 23-7 in their last 30 games vs. sub-.400 teams.
- 23-9 in their last 32 home games.
- 35-16 in their last 51 games vs. AL Central opponents.