Preview: Guthrie, Royals look to end three-game skid
JUL 13, 2013 1:09a ET
Whether he has made any permanent strides will be seen when he takes the ball for the visiting Kansas City Royals, who look to snap a three-game losing streak Saturday night against the Cleveland Indians.
Guthrie (8-6, 4.12 ERA) was 0-3 with a 6.95 ERA over a four-start stretch before allowing one run, six hits and one walk in 6 2-3 innings of Monday's 5-1 win at Yankee Stadium -- his first victory since June 10.
Making Guthrie's outing even more impressive was that he had to handle a 59-minute rain delay, after a rain delay of greater than two and a half hours interfered with his previous start.
"Tremendous competitor," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said. "He showed it today - to endure an hour rain delay and go out and throw at the level that he threw."
The Indians might have finally figured a way around Guthrie toward the end of his last appearance against them. The right-hander had 11 2/3 scoreless innings against Cleveland this season entering the sixth inning on July 3. Jason Kipnis hit a three-run home run with no outs in the sixth, and Guthrie was charged with two more in the seventh, but the Royals (43-47) ended up rallying for a 6-5 win.
Their offense hasn't been nearly as productive lately, totaling five over the course of a three-game losing streak and plating five or less in each of the last eight.
Billy Butler is 6 for his last 43 (.140), a skid that began when the Indians held him to two hits in 11 at-bats in the series that began July 2.
All-Star Alex Gordon, who struck out with the bases loaded with one out in the fifth inning in Friday's series-opening 3-0 loss, is 2 for his last 17 (.118). Eric Hosmer, who arrived at Progressive Field batting .389 average with five home runs over a 13-game stretch, followed Gordon with a groundout as part of an 0-for-4 performance.
Cleveland's offense hasn't been much better. The Indians (49-44) have scored 16 runs over their last five games, but they've managed to win three of them behind a pitching staff that has a 1.96 ERA during that span.
The Indians recorded six hits Friday, but five of them came in a row to start the seventh inning. Carlos Santana, who entered Friday in a 3-for-18 slump, had an RBI single and Mark Reynolds, stuck in a 3-for-37 rut, followed with a bunt single. Michael Bourn, who entered 5 for his previous 29 (.172), tacked on a two-run double.
"Reynolds sensed something that could happen, and made a great play by bunting," Kansas City reliever Aaron Crow said. "That pitch to Bourn was down and in, almost on the ground, so that was just a great piece of hitting."
Scott Kazmir (4-4, 4.74) certainly didn't mind seeing those slumping bats awaken. The left-hander has received 18 runs of support as the Indians have lost five of his last seven starts.
Kazmir hasn't received a decision in his last two starts and hasn't been able to pitch deep. After giving up three runs in five-plus innings in the defeat in Kansas City on July 3, Kazmir gave up two runs in 5 2-3 innings in Monday's 4-2 loss to Detroit.
Gordon is 3 for 6 against Kazmir this season, and Butler is 2 for 4.
+ SHOW COMMENTS +