The Cubs (62-58) were able to earn a split in their two-game series against the crosstown White Sox thanks to a dramatic three-run walk-off home run off the bat of Christopher Morel Wednesday night. Chicago hopes to carry the momentum of that electric moment into a weekend set against a really dreadful Royals (39-84) team.
If not for the Oakland A’s, Kansas City would comfortably be the worst team in baseball, as they are a full 10 games behind the White Sox in the American League Central division. The 2015 World Series championship is a distant memory for this perpetually rebuilding squad.
Their .697 team OPS and 120 home runs are both 25th in MLB, which is actually better than you might expect given their record. One player who is having a big year is shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. with 23 homers and an .812 OPS. Veteran catcher Salvador Pérez is still a power threat with 19 bombs on the season.
The Royals’ biggest struggles in 2023 have been on the mound with an overall 5.15 ERA as a staff, the fourth-worst in baseball. The bullpen is even worse with a 5.28 mark. The de facto ace of the staff, Brady Singer, has a 4.91 ERA and most of the veteran relievers have been traded.
Kansas City is particularly bad away from Kauffman Stadium with a 16-44 road record. That said, the Cubs have learned recently that any team is capable of winning a game no matter how bad they are and KC did have a seven-game winning streak earlier this month.
If Chicago plays well they should be successful in this series. Every victory they can get goes a long way to securing a playoff spot. Hopefully, the Cubs can provide as much excitement at Wrigley Field as the Air and Water Show this weekend.
Game Time and Broadcast Info
- Friday, August 18 at 1:20pm CT on MLB Network (out of market only) and Marquee.
- Saturday, August 19 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.
- Sunday, August 20 at 1:20pm CT on Marquee.
What to Watch For
- Nico Hoerner has reached base 11 times in his last five games.
- Nelson Velázquez has four home runs for the Royals since being acquired from the Cubs for reliever José Cuas.
- Jeimer Candelario has cooled off a little bit going 2-13 his last four games.