The Kansas City Royals expect Mike Moustakas to return from the bereavement list Monday night in time for what appears to be a favorable matchup against Colby Lewis.
The Texas Rangers’ starter has struggled in the past against the Royals, though he’s on the upswing heading into the opener of this four-game series in Arlington.
Moustakas, second on the club with a .327 average, missed a weekend three-game series in Detroit when he was placed the three-day bereavement list Friday. He is batting an AL-best .440 on the road.
The third baseman is 4 for 7 with a homer off Lewis (2-2, 2.61 ERA), who is 1-4 with a 6.55 ERA in six career starts against Kansas City. Eric Hosmer is 4 for 10 with two doubles against Lewis and Jarrod Dyson is 3 for 7 with two doubles.
Lewis has allowed one run over his last 14 innings, yielding the run in Wednesday’s 11-3 rout at Houston for his first win since April 7.
"I just think it is being healthy, being comfortable knowing my role and just feeling really relaxed," Lewis told MLB’s official website.
The right-hander’s 5.49 ERA at home since the start of 2014 is baseball’s third-worst mark in that span.
The Rangers (13-18) own baseball’s worst home record at 3-9, though they feel better about themselves after capping a 5-2 trip with Sunday’s 2-1 victory over Tampa Bay thanks in part to Adrian Beltre’s solo homer in the fourth inning and tiebreaking single in the eighth.
"These guys have responded, they know what’s at stake, they know where we’re at," manager Jeff Banister said. "We’re still early, but we’re at a point now that we need to put some things together and start putting some Ws on the board."
Beltre has scuffled with a .236 average, .660 OPS and eight RBIs. The Rangers have nine RBIs from the cleanup spot to match Tampa Bay for the AL’s worst total.
"The main reason we’re not doing better is because of me. I take full responsibility," said Beltre, who is batting .192 with runners in scoring position and has left 50 men on base. "Hitting in the middle of the lineup, I know my job, I know what I need to be doing. It hasn’t happened, but there’s no doubt it has to be better moving forward."
Beltre is 0 for 4 off Royals starter Danny Duffy (2-1, 4.55), who was charged with four runs, two hit batters and one wild pitch over one-plus inning in Wednesday’s 10-3 home loss to Cleveland.
The left-hander called the shortest non-injury start of his career "weird" and also said, "I’ll have confidence that I’ll do my job the next time I go out there."
Duffy’s two career starts against the Rangers came within his first three big-league outings in 2011. The Texas hitter he has faced the most is Prince Fielder, who is 1 for 8 in this matchup.
The Rangers are facing a lefty for the first time in seven games and Banister is expected to give righty-swinging Jake Smolinski a start.
Kansas City (20-11) can improve to 10-1 in series openers with a third straight win. Hosmer is 10 for 30 with 10 RBIs over a seven-game hitting streak.
The Royals lead the majors with a .290 average and the Rangers are last at .224. Kansas City went 5-1 in last year’s season series.