Preview: Royals at Twins
Current Conditions – Minneapolis
SUNNY 73 °F
Wind: NW 6
5-Day Forecast GAME: Kansas City Royals (94-67) at Minnesota Twins (83-78)
DATE/TIME: Sunday, October 04 – 3:10 PM EST
WHERE: Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota
LINE: N/A TOTAL: N/A
The Kansas City Royals have home-field advantage throughout the American League playoffs on the line when they visit the division-rival Minnesota Twins for the regular-season finale on Sunday. The AL Central-champion Royals posted a 5-1 victory over Minnesota on Saturday to officially eliminate the Twins from the wild-card race and move one game ahead of Toronto for first overall in the junior circuit.
Kansas City (94-67) cannot afford to finish with an identical record as Toronto (93-68), as the Blue Jays own the tiebreaker by virtue of going 4-3 in the season series against the Royals. Lorenzo Cain snapped a 1-1 tie with an RBI infield single in the seventh and Mike Moustakas capped the four-run inning with a run-scoring double as the Royals extended their winning streak to four contests and improved to 4-2 on their season-ending seven-game road trip. Brian Dozier delivered an RBI single for the Twins, who are in danger of being swept after scoring just one run in each of the first two games of the series. Minnesota has lost eight of its last 11 home games to fall to 46-34 at Target Field.
TV: 3:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, FSN North (Minnesota)
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Johnny Cueto (10-13, 3.48 ERA) vs. Twins RH Ricky Nolasco (5-1, 5.97)
Cueto suffered his sixth loss in seven decisions Tuesday against the White Sox as he gave up three runs and eight hits in six innings at Chicago. The 29-year-old Dominican served up a home run in that contest after keeping the ball in the park in four of his previous five outings. Cueto defeated Minnesota for the second time in as many career meetings on July 1, when he allowed one run and four hits in eight frames while with Cincinnati.
Nolasco will be making his eighth start of the season and first since suffering an ankle injury against Toronto on May 31 that required surgery. The 32-year-old Californian made his first appearance since getting hurt on Wednesday, when he surrendered three runs on two hits and one walk in two innings of relief at Cleveland. Nolasco, who has won five straight decisions since losing his season debut on April 8 in Detroit, is 2-2 with a 3.31 ERA in five career outings versus Kansas City.
1. The Royals’ win total is the third-highest in franchise history and most since they posted 97 in 1980.
2. Minnesota OF Torii Hunter could be playing in the final game of his 18-year career on Sunday.
3. Cain appears to be fully recovered from his right knee injury as he went 3-for-4 with an RBI and two runs scored Saturday after missing two games.
PREDICTION: Royals 6, Twins 3