Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer is giving the home fans a thrill in the midst of an impressive 10-game stretch while the Colorado Rockies can’t find a sliver of happiness away from Coors Field. Fresh off belting a three-run, walk-off homer, Hosmer looks to lead the host Royals to a three-game interleague series sweep over the struggling Rockies on Thursday afternoon.
Hosmer drove in four runs for the second time during his last 10 games, during which the 27-year-old is 15-for-35 with three homers, 12 RBIs and seven runs scored. Kansas City has won three straight and seven of 10 following Wednesday’s 6-4 victory to move within five games of American League Central-leading Cleveland and a half-game behind Minnesota for the second wild card. While things are looking up for the Royals, the Rockies have dropped four in a row overall and 23 of their last 29 on the road to reside a half-game in back of Arizona for the top wild card in the National League and three in front of Milwaukee. Nolan Arenado has flexed his muscles during the first two contests of the series, extending his hitting streak to eight games by belting a home run in consecutive outings.
TV: 2:15 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Rockies RH German Marquez (10-5, 4.24 ERA) vs. Royals RH Jake Junis (5-2, 4.99)
Marquez improved to 5-1 in his last eight outings on Friday despite surrendering a career-high three homers in 5 2/3 innings of an 8-4 victory versus Milwaukee. The 22-year-old Venezuelan joined Antonio Senzatela and Kyle Freeland as rookie pitchers with double-digit wins, marking a first in franchise history for Colorado. Marquez has been taken deep nine times in his last nine games after yielding six homers in his previous 12.
Junis looks to shake off a disastrous relief appearance versus Cleveland on Friday and resume his winning ways. The 24-year-old had won three straight decisions before permitting four runs on five hits over 2 1/3 innings against the Indians. Junis is getting an extended look while fellow right-hander Trevor Cahill deals with right shoulder impingement syndrome.
1. Colorado CF Charlie Blackmon has heated up with the temperatures, following his month of July in which he batted .370 with three hits on Wednesday to improve his sizzling August batting average to .380.
2. Kansas City 2B Whit Merrifield collected a career-high four hits on Wednesday and has seven in his last three games after a disastrous 0-for-19 stretch.
3. Colorado 1B Mark Reynolds is 0-for-7 with four strikeouts in the series.
PREDICTION: Royals 4, Rockies 2