Perhaps the Royals (24-32) wish they could play the Minnesota Twins (26-30) every day through the rest of the season. Kansas City despite just 6.5 games behind Detroit in the AL Central basement has hung around despite their misfortunes at Kauffman Stadium, where they have gone just 11-15 this season. The Royals' struggles as host were on display for a month, dropping 11 straight while the rotation compiled a 5.17 ERA and the offense batted .209 and averaged 2.1 runs.
However there is a glimmer of hope and perhaps a turning point for KC to turn things around capping off this series. The Royals have won 4 of their last 5 and are 7-2 during the season series. Tonight the Royals send the struggling Wade Davis (3-5 6.16) to the hill. Davis is coming off another rough outing where he yielded 6 runs on 10 hits in 5 IP against Texas along with 8 K's. Over his last 3 outings he has lost two with a no decision and an ERA of 6.75. Tonight he faces a Twins lineup who despite some early season struggles has shown some signs of life as late. Justin Morneau and his teammates are likely waiting for an explosion to enhance his paltry 2 HR despite leading the club with 34 driven in. Josh Willingham (.225 10 31) leads the Twinkies in long balls but needs to cut down on his 59 strikeouts that have been instant rally killers in scoring situations. Ryan Doumit (.234 7 30) got off to a real slow start but has produced a lot more consistently over the past few weeks.
Minnesota counters with Mike Pelfrey (3-6 6.66) who despite coming off a respectable start could not receive any run support in a 3-0 loss to Seattle at home. He allowed just 3 runs on 6 hits in nearly 6 innings but also walked 4. It's not that Pelfrey has been especially wild as evident by 19 BB in 54 innings, however if you combine a lack of run support with one or two innings of struggles it makes it difficult to earn victories. There is not a lot of power in this Kansas city lineup as they are tied with Miami for fewest HR in the league. They are hitting .256 collectively while averaging about 3.8 runs per contest. You cant blame Alex Gordon (.316 6 31) who has been one of the few hitting in the clutch as evident by his numbers. Billy Butler (.268 5 32) did get off to a slow start but seems to be finding his mark. However for some of the fans who expected guys like Eric Hosmer (.259 1 17), Alcides Escobar (.250 3 19) and Mike Moustakas (.179 4 12) to be having solid seasons, the underachievement has certainly caught up. However when you have a chance to win their current series, Pelfrey could be the guy most prone to be lit up in a very short time.
We get a bargain of a price here in a park where there really are no clear advantages if you look at the dimensions, however the ball does tend to carry a lot better in the daytime and when the weather starts getting hot. Davis needs to show he can be a more all around consistent pitcher even from his days with Tampa Bay. Pelfrey is in a similar place considering his long term off and on tenure with the Mets. Anytime you have two pitchers with ERA's above 6 with no light at the end of the tunnel, one can't pass this opportunity up. Best of luck however you play!