Sunday, June 26, 2016

Fister, Astros eye continued success against Royals

Astros right-hander Doug Fister will square off against Royals righty Ian Kennedy on Sunday in the finale of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium.
Since the start of May, Fister has posted an ERA of 2.34 with nine quality starts in 10 outings. He's given up two or fewer walks in eight of the 10 starts, including in each of his last four games. The Astros have outscored the Royals, 26-9, in the first two games of this set.
And while Fister has thrived, so have the Astros. Houston has won all 10 of those starts by a combined 29 runs. Six of those wins came against teams with a record of .500 or better entering Saturday, while three of them were against teams that currently sit in first place.
On the other side, it hasn't quite been the same story for Kennedy. While the Royals won in five of Kennedy's six outings in May, they have gone 1-3 with him on the mound in June, when his ERA is 7.25.
Still, Kennedy is certainly capable of providing big time performances. He's gone at least six innings without yielding an earned run three times this season, and he's been especially good at home, where his ERA is 2.30. Additionally, in one earlier meeting with the Astros on April 14, Kennedy was magnificent, giving up two hits and one run through seven innings.
Things to know about this game
• Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez is the team's only projected starter with a batting average above .250 against Kennedy over the last five seasons. Gomez is hitting .364 in 11 at-bats vs. Kennedy in that stretch.
• Filling in for Mike Moustakas, who is out for the season with a torn right ACL, Royals third baseman Cheslor Cuthbert entered Saturday with a .300 batting average in June.
• Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has reached safely in 28 straight games. He went 1-for-3 against Kennedy in their most recent matchup, with the lone hit being a solo home run.

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