The two teams with the worst records in baseball will go head-to-head in a matchup with 2024 draft implications when the visiting Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics open a three-game series Monday night.
Royals left-hander Tucker Davidson (1-2, 6.39 ERA) and A’s right-hander Paul Blackburn (3-3, 4.09) are the scheduled starters in the opener.
Having been swept by the Baltimore Orioles to open this homestand and losers of eight of their last nine games, the A’s (34-90) enter the series with the most losses in the majors.
Their record is five games worse than the Royals (40-86), with the two teams having distanced themselves from the competition in the race to share favoritism in the second annual draft lottery, which will take place this winter and determine the top six positions.
The teams that finish the regular season with the three worst records — the Colorado Rockies (48-76) currently rank third — will enter the lottery with the best odds (16.5 percent each) of earning the first pick in the 2024 draft, which will be in July.
Oakland and Kansas City will meet in their second series of the season. The A’s won two of three games on the road in May.
The Royals lost for the fifth time in their last six games Sunday, 4-3, to the host Chicago Cubs. Kansas City’s swing through Oakland comes in the middle of a nine-game trip that will end in Seattle.
Davidson will make his first start since purchased by the Royals from the Los Angeles Angels on Aug. 1. He made 16 starts in 17 games for the Atlanta Braves and Angels from 2020-22 before becoming a full-time reliever for the Angels this season.
The 27-year-old has faced the A’s twice in his career, both times in relief, and has yet to give up a run in 6 1/3 innings, allowing five hits.
The Royals will begin the series with uncertainty at the top of their lineup with third baseman Maikel Garcia having been held out of Sunday’s game until the ninth inning because of what the club is calling upper-body soreness.
Manager Matt Quatraro called on Garcia as a pinch hitter, and he came through with an RBI single as part of a two-run uprising that fell one run short against the Cubs.
“If we could have stayed away from him, it would have been ideal. We just don’t know the full extent of how he’s going to feel,” Quatraro said of Garcia. “We were only going to use him if he was the tying run or winning run. That’s what we told him. For him to come in, he’s always ready to hit, so it didn’t really surprise me.”
Oakland’s Blackburn has pitched brilliantly in two of his three August starts, shutting out the San Francisco Giants and St. Louis Cardinals on a total of eight hits over 13 innings in A’s wins.
The 29-year-old has gone 2-0 with a 4.20 ERA in three career starts against the Royals.
In the end, he might have been lucky to avoid the Orioles, who thrashed the A’s by a total score of 28-7 in a three-game sweep.
“That’s the best team in the American League right there. They came in here and showed why. They do everything well,” A’s manager Mark Kotsay said of the Orioles.
“Overall, you look across the diamond and you know where that team was a few years ago. You have to believe we’re going to get through this difficult time and get to where they’re at.”
—Field Level Media
Original source here
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