Game preview: Royals are feast or famine at the plate
OAKLAND (AP) — The Kansas City Royals tend to be feast or famine at the plate, and that has been on display so far on this nine-game road trip.
Recent games in Oakland, however, have proven only to be an offensive struggle.
The Royals will try to rebound from another rough performance at the plate Saturday night against the Athletics.
Kansas City (20-18) is hitting .312 with 17 homers and an average of 6.1 runs during its victories, compared to .208 with nine homers and 2.5 runs per game in defeat.
Lorenzo Cain may be the biggest culprit, as he owns a .408 average in wins, while batting .204 in losses.
That vast swing has been grossly evident while Kansas City has alternated wins and losses over the first four games of this trip.
The team is hitting .381 with 20 runs in the two wins, with Cain going 5 for 10 with five RBIs. However, he’s 0 for 4 with three strikeouts in the losses, contributing to the Royals’ .172 average and three runs.
Lack of offense was the issue in Friday’s series-opening 2-1 loss, as Kansas City was limited to five hits.
“I mean, it’s kind of heartbreaking,” right fielder David Lough told the team’s official website. “Our offense just didn’t click but we all know what we’re capable of doing.”
Poor performances at the plate are nothing new for the Royals in Oakland (21-22), where they have lost four of five while totaling eight runs with a .168 average.
Lough did provide a lift with a pair of hits and an RBI Friday in his season debut, hours after being recalled from Triple-A Omaha to replace Jarrod Dyson, who is on the disabled list with a sprained right ankle.
The A’s will try to post consecutive wins for the first time this month when they send Tommy Milone (3-5, 3.71 ERA) to the mound.
The left-hander, though, has lost five straight starts despite a very respectable 3.62 ERA during that span. He has been backed by four total runs in those games.
Milone didn’t do himself any favors Sunday, giving up five runs – three in the first inning – and three walks before leaving after the fifth in a 6-1 loss at Seattle.
He is 1-1 with a 1.20 ERA in two career starts against the Royals, winning the lone matchup at home.
The Royals will counter with Ervin Santana (3-2, 2.79), who suffered his first loss since his season debut his last time out Sunday against the Yankees.
He gave up four runs and eight hits over 6 1-3 innings and has allowed seven runs in his last two starts spanning 12 1-3 innings after going 3-0 with a 1.20 ERA in his previous four outings – all Kansas City victories.
“If you do the little things, you’re going to win games. That’s how it is,” Santana told the team’s official website.
He’s certainly done that in Oakland, where he’s 6-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 12 games – 10 starts – but he last appeared there in a 10-inning defeat with the Los Angeles Angels on July 16, 2011.