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Refreshed Guardians head to Kansas City for weekend series

Nolan Jones couldn’t pick a better team to debut against if he wanted to

Cleveland Indians Summer Workouts
Here is a picture of Nolan Jones, outfielder in the Cleveland Guardians organization, for no particular reason
Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images

While the Guardians have yet to confirm the move, surely you’ve already heard that Nolan Jones is expected to join the team for their weekend series against the Royals. We’ll have more on that when the news becomes official, but for our first Nolan Jones-related piece, let’s look at the team he’ll most likely be facing for his MLB debut.

This is normally the part where I’d say something like “it’s the Royals they’re bad the Guardians will probably win,” but I’m not so sure anymore. After getting swept in four games by the Tigers, anything feels possible. It could not be a more opportune time to bring up a rookie, though, as by far the Royals’ biggest weakness is their pitching.

Offensively, the Royals are bad but not the worst in the league by any margin. In fact, their wRC+ is only a shade lower than Cleveland’s (95), but maybe that says more about the Guardians than it does the Royals. They have a legitimate offensive threat in Andrew Benintendi, who is slashing .319/.388/.405, and rookie Bobby Witt Jr. is holding his own with a 102 wRC+ and playing solid defense at shortstop. The excitement drops off a bit from there, but it’s not like the Royals are completely void of hitters.

Pitching is where they have struggled mightily this season, as they sit dead last (by a wide margin) in ERA, SIERA, and they are the only team in the AL without a double-digit strikeout-to-walk ratio. It’s bad. Whatever hope they once had in Brad Keller, Brady Singer, and Daniel Lynch forming some kind of big three is evaporated, and third-year starter Kris Bubic is mired in a 6.84 ERA season over 48.2 innings. Zack Greinke, who returned to the city that started it all on a one-year deal in the offseason, found out the hard way that the fountains of Kauffmann Stadium can’t reverse age. He’s on pace for the worst season of his career with a 4.85 ERA, and an 11.6% strikeout rate.

All three starters the Guardians will face are right-handed, which might be important for potential Nolan Jones playing time, given how much his new manager loves platoons.

Team at a glance

  • Record: 30-51 (14th in AL)
  • Runs Scored: 318 (13th in AL)
  • Run Differential: -102 (14th in AL)
  • Last 10: 4-6
  • Slash: .240/.307/.378
  • wOBA: .302 (10th in AL)
  • wRC+: 94 (12th in AL)
  • ERA: 4.97 (15th in AL)
  • SIERA: 4.58 (15th in AL)
  • K-BB%: 8.2% (15th in AL)

Projected starters

Friday, July 8, 8:10 p.m. ET: RHP Brady Singer vs. RHP Aaron Civale
Saturday, July 9, 4:10 p.m. ET: RHP Jonathan Heasley vs. RHP Triston McKenzie
Sunday, July 10, 2:10 p.m. ET: RHP Zack Greinke vs. RHP Zack Plesac



How many games will the Guardians win against the Royals?

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  • 26%
    (17 votes)
  • 41%
    (26 votes)
  • 19%
    (12 votes)
  • 12%
    (8 votes)
63 votes total Vote Now