Rays-Royals Preview

The Tampa Bay Rays’ Chris Archer appears to have a promising chance to start in his first All-Star Game, and he’ll get an opportunity to try to influence the manager who’s making that decision.

Archer will face Ned Yost’s Kansas City Royals in his final start before the break Wednesday night.

Among the AL’s leaders in all three major categories, Archer (9-5, 2.18 ERA) was an easy selection for the league’s squad that will play in Cincinnati on Tuesday.

"I knew that one day it would be possible, and I think we all knew," he told MLB’s official website. "That’s why the Rays traded for me (in January 2011). They saw a lot of upside and potential. So to be creeping closer and closer to that is also very encouraging."

Whether he gets the ball first for that AL team is still undecided.

Sonny Gray likely won’t pitch at Great American Ball Park because he’s slated to start Sunday for Oakland. Houston’s Dallas Keuchel is scheduled to pitch Saturday in Tampa Bay and the Chicago White Sox’s Chris Sale will also start that same day.

Detroit’s David Price and Seattle’s Felix Hernandez are both slated to pitch on Thursday.

Archer will try to do his part to seal his spot in his third career start against the Royals (48-33). He went 0-1 with a 2.84 ERA in the other two – both at Kauffman Stadium – and pitched seven innings in the latest matchup, a 1-0 victory April 8, 2014.

That win represents a rare one in recent matchups against the Royals, and Kansas City extended its dominance with a doubleheader sweep Tuesday, totaling 16 runs and 26 hits after tornado warnings forced a cancellation of Monday’s scheduled series opener.

A 7-1 victory in the nightcap was their 16th in 21 meetings and 10th in the past 11 matchups at Kauffman.

Tampa Bay (43-43) has lost 13 of 16 overall and is danger of falling below .500 for the first time since it was 24-25 on May 29.

Jeremy Guthrie (6-5, 5.42) will try to deliver another win for Kansas City. The right-hander has allowed a combined four runs in 13 1-3 innings in his past two games.

Guthrie gave up two runs in 7 1-3 innings Friday against Minnesota but the Royals needed 10 innings for a 3-2 victory.

"Another great start by him," Yost said. "Two runs in eight innings, he just kept us in it. He was just throwing the ball so well."

Guthrie has yielded two runs in 12 innings in back-to-back wins over the Rays – both at Kauffman Stadium – and claimed the latest April 9, 2014.

Asdrubal Cabrera, who has seven hits in his last 18 at-bats against Guthrie, is batting .185 (5 for 27) in his last nine games.

Kendrys Morales is 5 for 8 with a home run and two doubles lifetime versus Archer.