Royals-Blue Jays preview
TORONTO -- The Kansas City Royals' record on the road has been unbecoming of a reigning World Series champion.
After losing 6-2 to the Toronto Blue Jays on Monday night, the Royals dropped to 16-28 on the road this season.
They'll try to begin reversing that trend in Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays, the second of a three-game series at the Rogers Centre.
The difference in their home and away records is as glaring example as any of their inconsistency this season; at Kauffman Stadium, they are 27-11.
Injuries have been part of the problem for the Royals. They entered their rematch of the 2015 American League Championship Series participants without such players as Lorenzo Cain (left hamstring strain) and Mike Moustakas (torn ACL).
Of course, the Blue Jays have been without one of their key players in Jose Bautista (turf toe).
"I'm not going to use injuries as an excuse," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We've been inconsistent at times offensively. When we got our pitching and hitting together, that's when we have gone on runs. But then we've had inconsistency, too, with our starting pitching. It's a lot of things."
The Royals will start right-hander Chris Young on Tuesday.
Young has been consistent this season in that he has allowed at least one home run in each of his 12 starts, for a total of a major league leading 22. The club record is held by Runelvys Hernandez, who allowed homers in 13 straight starts Oct. 2, 2005-Aug. 10, 2006.
The ball could be flying in Tuesday's contest.
The Blue Jays will be starting knuckleballer R.A. Dickey, who has allowed 19 homers this season.
It is a rematch of the Game 4 starters in the ALCS. That one did not go well for Dickey. He allowed four hits (including two home runs), two walks, and five runs (four earned) in 1 2/3 innings. The Royals won 14-2.
Young did not pitch far enough into that game to get the win. He allowed three hits, two walks and two runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Young is 2-1 with a 4.98 ERA in four regular-season starts against the Blue Jays.
Dickey is 4-3 with a 4.20 ERA in 14 regular-season games against the Royals, including four starts.
Dickey could have redemption in mind when he faces the Royals, but both teams have underachieved in the first half of the season, so they will take any wins they can get to stay in contention.
There was some nastiness between the teams last year in a four game series in which the Blue Jays took three games at Rogers Centre.
Both managers have played down suggestions that this fuels a rivalry.
The Blue Jays, however, are quite aware that the Royals kept them from a chance at the World Series.
"More than anything this is the defending World Series champs," Blue Jays center fielder Kevin Pillar said. "Naturally you want to elevate your game for that.
"This is the team that knocked us out of the postseason, took everything that we worked extremely hard for away from us. We had some altercations with them, some incidents with them so, yeah, it's formed a little bit of a rivalry."