Royals continue West Coast trip with four-game series in Oakland
OAKLAND, Calif. — Two pitchers representing the good and bad of recent Oakland Athletics trades go head-to-head Thursday night when the A’s open a four-game home series against the Kansas City Royals.
The Royals’ Jason Hammel (2-5, 5.17) and A’s Frankie Montas (2-0, 0.64), both of whom started wins when the clubs met last week in Kansas City, will try to get the rematch series going in a positive direction for their respective teams.
The A’s won two of three in Kansas City, when Montas benefitted from a 16-run attack in a 16-0 trouncing in the series opener last Friday.
Hammel then went six innings the next night in a 4-3 Royals win, after which the A’s captured the series with a 5-1 victory in the series finale.
Hammel has a 6-1 career record in Oakland, with the one loss occurring 14 days after the A’s acquired him along with Jeff Samardzija from the Chicago Cubs in July 2014 in a deal that saw star prospect Addison Russell go to Chicago.
With the A’s also trading for Jon Lester, at the expense of Yoenis Cespedes, in the stretch drive that season, the three veteran pitchers were brought in to help Oakland get into the postseason and potentially do some damage.
But Hammel went just 2-6 with a 4.26 ERA in 13 games for the A’s, including 12 starts, as Oakland dropped out of first place and into the American League wild-card game, where they, coincidentally, were beaten 9-8 by the Royals in Kansas City.
Hammel pitched so poorly for the A’s, he was not expected to be in the playoff rotation that season, with Sonny Gray and Scott Kazmir set to join Lester and Samardzija.
Hammel threw the last pitch of the A’s season, allowing a walk-off single to Salvador Perez that capped a two-run Royals rally in the 12th
Hammel entered the game after the Royals had tied the score, and allowed the runner at first with two outs, Christian Colon, to steal second on his fourth pitch, before Perez hit his next delivery into left field to eliminate the A’s.
The A’s let Hammel walk as a free agent after the season. He has a 4-2 record with a 4.64 ERA in 10 career head-to-heads, including six starts, against Oakland.
Montas has pitched brilliantly in his two starts for the A’s this season, paying early dividends on a trade that saw Oakland unload Rich Hill and Josh Reddick to the Los Angeles Dodgers in August of 2016. The A’s also got Jharel Cotton in the deal.
The 25-year-old has allowed just one run in his two starts, the second of which being the eight scoreless innings he threw against the Royals last week. He scattered seven hits in the contest.
Montas has faced the Royals twice in his career, once in relief, and has gone 1-0 with a 1.00 ERA.
Coming off back-to-back losses at Texas that capped a 2-3 trip, the A’s will be opening a 10-game homestand just one week after completing another 10-game stretch of home games during which they went just 4-6.
Meanwhile, the four-game series caps a seven-game trip for the Royals, who lost their fourth straight Wednesday night, 4-3 to the Los Angeles Angels.
The Royals were swept in a three-game series in Los Angeles and traded outfielder Jon Jay to the Arizona Diamondbacks Wednesday for two minor league pitchers.