The reigning world champion Kansas City Royals take to the road for the first time this season when they begin a four-game set against the Houston Astros on Monday in a rematch of the 2015 American League Division Series. Kansas City began the defense of its championship with a successful five-game homestand that concluded with a three-game sweep against Minnesota – including a 10-inning victory on Sunday in which it rallied for two runs in the ninth before pinch-runner Terrance Gore scored on a wild pitch in the 10th.
Mike Moustakas hopes to continue to swing a hot bat on the road as he went 5-for-12 with two home runs versus the Twins after going hitless in his first eight at-bats of the season. Houston opens play at Minute Maid Park after a disappointing six-game road trip to start the season saw it lose two of three to both the New York Yankees and Milwaukee. Tyler White has kicked off his major-league career in superb fashion, going 10-for-18 with three homers and nine RBIs in his first five games before an 0-for-3 outing against the Brewers on Sunday. Collin McHugh looks to return to the form that made him a 19-game winner for Houston last season as he squares off against Chris Young, who has reached double digits in victories each of the last two years.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN Kansas City, ROOT (Houston)
LINE HISTORY: The Houston Astros opened as -135 favorites against the defending World Series champions. The total opened at 9.
Royals – RF J. Dyson (Out Monday, oblique), RP T. Collins (Out For Season, elbow).
Astros – DH E. Gattis (Out Monday, hernia), C M. Stassi (Out Monday, wrist).
WEATHER REPORT: With a chance of thunderstorms in the Houston area on Monday evening, it is likely that the roof of Minute Maid Park will be closed.
HOT FAN BATTLE:
PITCHING MATCHUP: Royals RH Chris Young (0-1, 3.60 ERA) vs. Astros RH Collin McHugh (0-1, 135.00)
Young accounted for Kansas City’s lone loss thus far as he was outdueled by Mets powerhouse Noah Syndergaard on Tuesday. The 36-year-old native of Dallas worked five innings against his former team, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out four. Despite posting a 4.67 ERA in six career starts against Houston, Young is 4-1 while limiting the Astros to a .208 batting average.
McHugh has a season debut to forget on Wednesday as he was battered for six runs – five earned – by the New York Yankees. The 28-year-old from Illinois allowed three hits and walked two while retiring just one batter in the shortest start of his career. McHugh was outstanding in his only career regular-season outing against the Royals, scattering five hits over seven scoreless innings while striking out nine in a victory at Kansas City on May 27, 2014.
* Royals are 4-0 in Young’s last 4 road starts.
* Astros are 5-1 in their last 6 home games following a road trip of 7 or more days.
* Astros are 9-0 in McHughs last 9 home starts vs. a team with a winning record.
* Under is 7-0 in Royals last 7 during game 1 of a series.
* Under is 6-0-1 in Astros last 7 games vs. a team with a winning % above .600.
* Royals are 1-4 in the last 5 meetings in Houston.
COVERS CONSENSUS: Initial betting action was tilted slightly towards the favorite Astros (54 percent).