AL Central

Brandon Moss Embraces New Side of the I-70 Series with the Kansas City Royals

Kansas City Royals' Brandon Moss (37) celebrates with Alcides Escobar (2) after Moss hit a solo home run during the eighth inning of the team's baseball game against the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Kansas City, Mo. Kansas City won 6-4. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

It’s not uncommon for players’ careers to overlap with St. Louis Cardinals and Kansas City Royals, as nearly 100 players have played for both franchises at the Major League level.

But it’s a little less common to reach a feat that Kansas City’s Brandon Moss accomplished on Monday, participating in the I-70 series with both opponents in back-to-back seasons. The transition marks the first for any player since Mark Grudzielanek competed in the series with both teams from 2005-2006.

“Obviously the fans are going to be more invested in it than anybody because it’s a state rivalry for them, but for me, there’s a lot of friendships I have over there,” Moss said. ” It’s always fun playing against old teammates and trying to beat guys that you know.”

In Monday’s series opener, Moss hit a ninth-inning home run against his former team, one of three the Royals hit in the game. Moss received his third start off since July 19 on Tuesday in a move that allowed Mike Moustakas to put less stress on a sore knee.

After signing a two-year, $12 million contract with the Royals in February, Moss struggled in the first half with a .193/.269/.362 statline and nearly a 4:1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

“Early on, with a new team and a new environment, you try to do as much as you can, you dig yourself into a little bit of a hole, and it takes a lot to come out of it,” Moss said.

Moss has settled into a groove since the All-Star break with five home runs, 14 RBIs and a .876 OPS.

“The power stroke is coming along, but more importantly I’m mixing in hits,” Moss said. “Those are going to help the teams just as much as the home runs when start getting on base for other guys and having good at-bats.”

St. Louis Cardinals’ manager Mike Matheny took note of the first two games against Moss, reflecting on the presence he provided for the team the previous two seasons.

“He was a great teammate, we loved having him over here. He did a nice job for us. Dangerous hitter… like he did against us last night. He’s got crazy power. I was impressed with how he prepared, how he competed and how he showed up everyday as a really good team. He’s a talented player

As the I-70 series moves to St. Louis on Wednesday, Moss’s playing time could be cut short for the rest of the series with the subtraction of the designated hitter at a National League ballpark. But Moss has larger ambitions with Kansas City tied for the second American League wild card spot.

“I’m not trying to reach a magical number of home runs or RBIs, I’m trying to help the team get to the postseason and win there,” Moss said. “That’s really all your here to do, and keeping that perspective is always going to keep you in a better frame of mind.”

 

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