Major League Baseball
Brewers-Royals Preview
Major League Baseball

Brewers-Royals Preview

Published Jun. 18, 2015 1:36 a.m. ET

A series with the last-place Milwaukee Brewers has solved the Kansas City Royals' recent offensive woes, something that's especially been true for Alcides Escobar.

Escobar looks to build on one of the best offensive performances of his career as the AL Central-leading Royals go for a sweep of this four-game set with the Brewers on Thursday night.

Kansas City (37-25) entered this series hitting .205 while averaging 2.4 runs during a 6-11 stretch, but it's bounced back by pounding Milwaukee to the tune of a .372 average and 25 runs.

The Royals had 12 hits while routing the Brewers 10-2 on Wednesday, and Escobar matched his career high with four RBIs on two hits, including a bases-clearing triple in the eighth.


The former Brewer is 5 for 14 with six RBIs in this series after batting .184 and driving in four runs over his previous 24 games.

Lorenzo Cain is 11 for 32 during an eight-game hitting streak, his third of the season of at least that length. He's 5 for 12 with two homers, a triple, a double and five RBIs over the last three games.

Kansas City could be in for another big effort at the plate, as Milwaukee's rotation owns an 8.78 ERA during a five-game losing streak. That's a rough patch Jimmy Nelson (3-7, 4.60 ERA), who has lost two of his last three starts with a 7.31 ERA, will be in charge of dragging the Brewers (24-43) out of.

"It is just unacceptable," Nelson told MLB's official website. "I just have to be more consistent. I have to be better."

Nelson was excellent June 8 at Pittsburgh, yielding four hits with seven strikeouts in six innings of a 2-0 win. However, he followed that five days later by surrendering seven runs and 10 hits - two homers - while plunking two batters in five innings of a 7-2 loss to Washington.

"I think he gets a little excited and overthrows a little bit," catcher Jonathan Lucroy said. "That's all it is. The thing is with him, he tries to be too perfect, and whenever he tries to be too perfect, he gets behind in the count."

The Royals are sending Jeremy Guthrie (4-4, 5.79) to the mound as he looks to further distance himself from lasting one inning and giving up 11 runs in a loss to the New York Yankees on May 25.

The right-hander has a 3.18 ERA in his past three outings, but he wasn't happy after allowing three runs and 10 hits in five innings of Saturday's 3-2 loss at St. Louis. He gave up two of those runs and half of those hits in the third inning.

"It doesn't matter what I think," Guthrie told MLB's official website. "We lost. So, I could have pitcher better.

"But really, the tough inning was the third inning when they strung together all those hits. I made some good pitches in good spots, but just couldn't get the third out."

Guthrie had been 3-0 with a 1.72 ERA in six interleague starts since joining the Royals in 2012. He's facing the Brewers for the first time since a win with Colorado earlier that season.


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