As Royals right-hander Chris Young takes the mound against the Astros on Saturday, all eyes will be on left field. After injuring his right wrist just over a month ago, left fielder Alex Gordon will likely make his return in the middle game of the set at Kauffman Stadium.
Prior to the injury, Gordon was struggling at the plate with a .211 batting average, while his OPS had dropped more than 150 points from the previous season.
However, as Gordon was finishing his rehab assignment at Triple-A Omaha on Friday, the Royals are looking for a big lift from his return.
"He's a Gold Glover. He's an All-Star. He's a catalyst of this lineup," Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield said. "He's an unbelievable leader and a great role model."
Astros right-hander Mike Fiers (5-3, 4.42 ERA) enters Saturday's start fresh off an injury scare. In his last outing on Sunday against the Reds, he was removed from the game after getting hit in the leg with a liner in the sixth inning.
"I'm just glad it didn't hit me in the knee," Fiers said after the game. "I'll be sore for a day or two, but I'll be fine."
Before the incident, Fiers had put together two of his best outings of the season, picking up his fourth and fifth wins. He will be seeking his first victory against the Royals this year.
Things to know about this game • In his last start against the Tigers, Young posted his first quality start since April 22. He went six innings, giving up one earned run, which was the fewest he'd given up in a start this year.
• Fiers pitched against the Royals earlier this season, giving up three earned runs in six innings in a 3-2 loss. Since that time, Fiers has allowed fewer than three earned runs eight times in 12 outings.
• In the Royals' first series against Houston this season, Gordon went 5-for-13 (.385) with two extra-base hits. He struck out in each game, but still managed to draw three walks in the series.
• Astros second baseman Jose Altuve has reached safely in 27 consecutive games after going 1-for-5 in Friday night's 13-4 rout in the series opener. He has 12 multi-hit games in that stretch.