The Kansas City Royals are on the verge of dropping below .500
for the first time in more than six weeks. Giving the ball to
Jeremy Guthrie could help them avoid it.
Guthrie will try to rebound from a rare defeat in Monday night’s
series opener against the Houston Astros.
The Royals (20-20) were a season-best seven games above the
break-even point and one-half game off the AL Central lead May 5,
but they’ve since dropped 10 of 13. Lack of offense has been the
main culprit, as Kansas City has scored three of fewer runs nine
times during that stretch.
The Royals plated five total runs in three straight losses at
Oakland over the weekend, with third baseman Mike Moustakas going 0
for 11 and shortstop Alcides Escobar’s 0-for-12 stretch ending with
a single in a 4-2 defeat Sunday.
“We definitely need to score runs the way the pitching has been
– it’s been amazing,” center fielder Lorenzo Cain told MLB’s
official website. “So we definitely got to do our part as an
offense and start getting it done.”
Kansas City’s starters have a 3.72 ERA, and Guthrie (5-1, 2.82
ERA) has played a big part in that. The right-hander went a
team-record 18 consecutive starts without a defeat before
surrendering season highs of five runs and 11 hits in seven innings
of a 6-2 loss to the Los Angeles Angels on Tuesday.
The defeat was Guthrie’s first since Aug. 3.
“Now we just start a new streak for him,” manager Ned Yost told
the Royals’ official website.
To do so, Guthrie may need to do a better job keeping the ball
in the park – something he’s struggled with throughout his career.
He gave up a career-high four home runs Tuesday, increasing his
season total to 11 – among the most in the major leagues.
The Astros (12-32) are 12th in the AL with 42 homers, but 24 of
those have come at home, including six in their last three games
Houston, loser of four straight against visiting teams, opens an
eight-game homestand after splitting the last four on a 2-4
“We’re playing a lot better,” manager Bo Porter told the Astros’
official website following a 1-0 loss to Pittsburgh on Sunday.
The Astros, who dropped two of three in Kansas City’s last visit
June 18-20, will give the ball to Dallas Keuchel (0-1, 4.82) in the
series opener. The left-hander will get his third start since
making his first six appearances this season out of the
Keuchel didn’t get a decision in either start, giving up four
earned runs in 5 2-3 innings of a 7-5 win at Detroit on
Keuchel has never faced the Royals.
Kansas City’s Alex Gordon is batting .500 during a seven-game
hitting streak after matching his career high with four hits
Kansas City, winner of nine of 13 against the Astros, last
dropped four straight on the road during a six-game skid Sept.