It wasn’t long ago that the Kansas City Royals led the majors in
batting, but many of the players responsible for that production
are no longer on the team – and their offense has suffered.
The Royals look to get their sputtering offense untracked
Saturday night when they continue a weekend series against the
Kansas City (46-63) has a .278 average to rank second in the
majors, but now the Royals are clearly back in a rebuilding phase.
They designated veteran Jose Guillen for assignment on Thursday,
even though the slugger led the team with 16 homers and 62
Top hitter David DeJesus is out for the season with a thumb
injury, and Scott Podsednik, Rick Ankiel and Alberto Callaspo have
all been traded. The result is unproven young players like Gregor
Blanco and Kila Ka’aihue getting chances to play, and Kansas City
has totaled seven runs in losing three of four to start this
nine-game West Coast road trip.
“Everybody thinks that we’re in a rebuilding mode, that that’s
an excuse for us to lower our expectations as an organization, but
that’s as far from the truth as it can get,” manager Ned Yost told
the Royals’ official website.
The Royals lineup is further depleted this weekend since former
Mariners shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt is expected to miss the
series to be with his wife in Miami at the delivery of their first
Kansas City fell 7-1 on Friday as Seattle starter Luke French
scattered nine hits in eight innings. The Mariners (41-69) ended a
three-game slide against the Royals and beat reigning AL Cy Young
Award winner Zack Greinke for the first time.
Seattle scored its most runs since an 8-1 win over Detroit on
July 4. Ryan Langerhans homered among his three hits and Chone
Figgins drove in three runs.
Bruce Chen (6-5, 4.74 ERA) will start for Kansas City. He gave
up three runs over five innings Sunday to earn a 5-4 win over
Baltimore after going 0-3 with a 7.97 ERA in his previous four
“Chen would bend, but never break,” Yost said.
The left-hander is 2-0 with a 2.48 ERA in five starts against
Seattle, though Ichiro Suzuki is 9 for 19 against him.
The Mariners’ David Pauley (0-3, 3.38) again will be looking for
his first major league victory. He’s 0-6 with a 6.71 ERA in 17
appearances, with nine starts in his career.
The journeyman right-hander is 0-3 with a 4.19 ERA in four
starts this year and lost his most recent one, lasting 2 2-3
innings and giving up four runs July 29 in a 9-5 defeat to the
Chicago White Sox. Pauley has made one appearance out of the
bullpen since, and he’s never started against Kansas City.