Reds vs Royals: Preview, pitching matchups and prediction

CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 11: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on as Hunter Dozier #17 of the Kansas City Royals heads to the dugout . (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - AUGUST 11: Joey Votto #19 of the Cincinnati Reds looks on as Hunter Dozier #17 of the Kansas City Royals heads to the dugout . (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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Jorge Soler #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during a game against the Cincinnati Reds.
CINCINNATI, OH – AUGUST 11: Jorge Soler #12 of the Kansas City Royals bats during a game against the Cincinnati Reds. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Reds foe remains competitive in tough AL Central

Don’t let the 9-14 record fool you.  As Reds Country discovered, this Kansas City team is much improved following a couple of brutal years. The Royals are battling teams competitively on a nightly basis. First-year manager Mike Matheny has his squad taking an old-school approach offensively.

For starters, offensively the Reds and Royals are playing a completely different game. Kansas City batters have drawn just 54 walks entering play Monday which is the fourth-lowest total in the American League.

On the other hand, the Cincinnati Reds have drawn 84 free passes ranking in the top three among National League clubs. Rest assured if the pitch is anywhere near the strike zone, Royals hitters are going to cut loose.

Plate discipline is not a high priority for the Royals. Per FanGraphs, Kansas City takes a hack at 48% of the pitches they see. This is the fourth-highest rate in the AL. For comparison’s sake, the Reds are swinging just 42.4% of the time. As a result, the Royals .307 OBP is less than desirable for a team hitting .251 overall.

When it comes to the pitching mound, KC hurlers have been dancing on the edge throughout the 2020 season. Despite having a respectable team ERA of 3.99, which is much better than the AL league average of 4.32, the peripheral numbers tell a different story.

Kansas City arms have compiled a 4.71 FIP which is the fourth-worst in the junior circuit. The 0.72 difference between their team ERA and FIP is the highest in the American League. Next, Royals hurlers have been victimized by the long ball.

Their 1.5 HR/9 rate is the second-worst mark among AL staffs. Additionally, the key for the Reds will be getting the ball into the humid Missouri air. The Royals pitching staff 16.7% HR/FB mark is the second-worst in the American League per FanGraphs.