(AP) — Zack Greinke hasn’t pitched as consistently on the road as he has at home, but his next road start isn’t in unfamiliar territory.
Greinke faces his former team for the first time Tuesday night when the Milwaukee Brewers visit the Kansas City Royals.
Milwaukee traded for Greinke (7-2, 3.13 ERA), the 2009 AL Cy Young Award winner, prior to the 2011 season. He was 60-67 with a 3.82 ERA in six-plus seasons with Kansas City.
Brewers manager Ron Roenicke wasn’t concerned about his ace becoming too emotional for his return.
“Sure he’s going to be amped, maybe a little bit more,” Roenicke told the Brewers’ official website, “but I think he liked it (in Kansas City). He was comfortable there and he knows what he needs to do in every start. I expect him to be pretty much the same guy.”
While Greinke is 15-0 at home since joining the Brewers, he is 3-2 with a 5.93 ERA on the road this season – posting a 0.95 ERA in the three wins and a 13.50 ERA in three other starts outside Miller Park.
The right-hander won his last road start, giving up one run in six innings of a 6-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on May 31. However, Greinke’s inconsistency away from Milwaukee is something his former teammates hope to take advantage of.
“It’d be nice to get (Greinke) back in Kansas City and beat up on him a little bit,” Royals outfielder Mitch Maier said. “We know he’s capable, but hopefully he makes some mistakes and we take advantage of it.”
Greinke is looking to win his third straight start. He followed the victory over the Dodgers by striking out a season-high 12 and giving up two hits in seven innings of an 8-0 win against the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday.
He’ll try to help Milwaukee (28-32) extend its recent run after the Brewers won two of three against San Diego over the weekend. Ryan Braun homered and drove in three runs in a 6-5 win Sunday for the Brewers’ ninth win in 13 games.
Milwaukee should feel good about its chances given the Royals’ struggles in interleague play. Kansas City (24-34) was swept at Pittsburgh over the weekend, scoring seven runs while going 4 for 29 (.138) with runners in scoring position over the weekend.
Sunday’s 3-2 loss was its fourth straight defeat overall.
“We’re not getting it done,” manager Ned Yost said. “Make up all the excuses you want. We’ve just got to get hits with runners in scoring position. I’m done with making excuses.”
Yost managed the Brewers between 2003-08, getting fired with 12 games left as Milwaukee was struggled to hold onto a wild-card spot, which it eventually secured for its first playoff appearance since 1982.
His familiarity with the NL hasn’t helped Kansas City, which has lost 18 of 23 interleague games.
The Royals will turn to Luis Mendoza (2-3, 5.36), who is starting in place of the injured Felipe Paulino. When Paulino went down with a strained groin Wednesday against Minnesota – an injury that landed him on the disabled list – Mendoza pitched five innings of relief, allowing two runs and five hits in a 4-2 loss.
The right-hander has made five starts this season and is 1-2 with a 6.08 ERA. He has never faced the Brewers.
This is Milwaukee’s first visit to Kansas City since 2006. The Brewers won two of three at Milwaukee in 2007.