Major League Baseball
Preview
Toronto at Kansas City
When: 8:15 PM ET, Tuesday, August 14, 2018
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Whit Merrifield has typically been the engine that drives the Kansas City Royals' majors-worst offense whenever it has clicked in 2018, although Ryan O'Hearn probably wouldn't mind an extended opportunity to prove he can be part of the solution. The 25-year-old rookie hopes to get another chance to build upon the best performance of his brief major-league career Tuesday when the Royals host the second of four games against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Merrifield went 3-for-4 on Monday to lift his team-leading batting average to .299, but it was O'Hearn that proved to be the difference in Kansas City's 3-1 series-opening victory, connecting on a two-run homer in his first at-bat before drawing a bases-loaded walk in his next plate appearance to push across the final run. O'Hearn's blast was his second in eight career games and first since his big-league debut on July 31, while the victory halted a stretch in which the Royals dropped nine of 10. Despite scoring nearly 100 more runs than Kansas City on the season, the Blue Jays are experiencing their own offensive woes with only four total runs over their last four contests. Devon Travis has supplied half of them over that span and accounted for all of Toronto's run production with a solo shot in Monday's setback.

TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, Sportsnet (Toronto), FS Kansas City

PITCHING MATCHUP: Blue Jays LH Ryan Borucki (2-2, 2.81 ERA) vs. Royals RH Heath Fillmyer (1-1, 3.13)

Borucki is seeking a third straight victory after going winless over his first six major-league starts following Thursday's decision in Boston in which he prevailed despite permitting four runs on nine hits and three walks over five innings. The 24-year-old has been a bit fortunate to carry a respectable ERA to this point, posting a 1.38 WHIP while allowing opponents to bat .272 against him. Borucki has kept the ball in the park (one home run across 48 innings) as he enters his first career start versus Kansas City.

Fillmyer notched his first career win in Wednesday's victory over the Chicago Cubs, tossing seven scoreless frames while giving up only three singles and two walks. The New Jersey native was also sharp in his previous home outing, allowing two runs (one earned) while fanning six over 6 2/3 frames in a no-decision against Detroit on July 23. Fillmyer is 1-1 with a 1.71 ERA in four appearances (three starts) at home as he faces the Blue Jays for the first time in his career.

WALK-OFFS

1. Toronto RHP Sean Reid-Foley and C Danny Jansen on Monday became the first batterymates to make their major-league debuts at the same time in the American League since 1967.

2. The Royals extended their club-record streak of errorless games to 13 and have not committed a defensive miscue in 120 innings.

3. After entering the month hitting .238 with nine homers and 25 RBIs, Travis is batting .311 with three home runs and 12 RBIs in August.

PREDICTION: Royals 3, Blue Jays 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Toronto 53-64 W1 29-32 24-32 19-29 14-11 11-19 9-5
Kansas City 35-82 L3 16-42 19-40 4-18 20-27 7-26 4-11
Last Meeting
Toronto Kansas City
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/18/18 KC 5 TOR 15 .375 3 1.229 .222 2 .717
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Toronto K. Pillar .462 6 1.192
Kansas City A. Escobar .300 3 1.017
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Toronto Y. Solarte 2 4 5
Kansas City W. Merrifield 1 3 2
Pitching ERA Avg K
Toronto 3.86 .330 25
Kansas City 8.88 .261 32
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Toronto J. Smoak .258 101 .839
Kansas City W. Merrifield .295 131 .780
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Toronto J. Smoak 18 50 59
Kansas City S. Perez 19 37 55
Pitching ERA Avg K
Toronto 4.72 .243 975
Kansas City 5.35 .239 837