Jason Miller/Getty Images
Manager Ned Yost has the Royals on the verge of their first postseason berth since 1985.The Kansas City Royals and Cleveland Indians wrap up their season series tonight (7 ET on ESPN/WatchESPN). The teams have split 18 meetings so far, but the Royals have won two straight and with a win tonight can eliminate the Indians from playoff contention.
Let’s take a look at some stats to know heading into tonight’s game.
On the road again
The Royals are playing their final two series of the season on the road (after tonight’s game they finish with a four-game series at the White Sox), which is good news for them.
The Royals are one of the better road teams in baseball this season, posting a 44-32 mark away from Kauffman Stadium. This ties them with the Orioles for the third-best road mark in the majors, behind only the Dodgers (49-32) and Angels (45-32).
The Royals have a very distinct offensive profile: they don’t walk, they don’t hit home runs, but they also don’t strike out.
Royals this season
It would follow, obviously, that no team in baseball has a larger percentage of its swings turn into balls in play (43 percent). For context, the MLB average is 40 percent.
As mentioned, the Royals currently rank last in the majors in both walks and home runs. No team has finished last in baseball in both walks and home runs and still made the playoffs.
In addition, Cleveland has won 20 games in their last at-bat, behind only the Athletics (22) and Marlins (21). Their 38 comeback wins trail only the Angels (45), Pirates (41), Orioles (40), Tigers (40) and Yankees (39).
• Alex Gordon is typically the measuring stick for the Royals offense. As he goes, so does the team. In wins this season, Gordon is hitting .292 with 15 home runs and 55 RBIs. In losses, he’s hitting .229 with four home runs and 18 RBIs.
Most games as Royals manager
• Ned Yost will manage his 771st game with the Royals tonight, passing the late Dick Howser for most games ever as Royals manager. Of the 15 who managed at least 100 games with the Royals, Yost's win percentage of .481 is ninth-best.
• The Indians have three players with at least 20 homers this season (Michael Brantley, Yan Gomes and Carlos Santana). It’s the first time they’ve had three 20-HR hitters since 2008 (Jhonny Peralta, Kelly Shoppach and Grady Sizemore).
• Michael Brantley will look to record his second 15-game hitting streak of the season tonight. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the only Indians player over the last 20 seasons to record two different hitting streaks of at least 15 games is Roberto Alomar, who did so in 2000.