|11:15 AM PT12:15 PM MT1:15 PM CT2:15 PM ET14:15 ET18:15 GMT2:15 11:15 AM MST1:15 PM EST1:45 PM VEN22:15 UAE1:15 PM CT, May 2, 2019
Ewing M. Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri Attendance: 23,343
Royals look to build on doubleheader sweep of Rays
Tampa Bay Rays at Kansas City Royals
- The Rays won both games against Boston this weekend after having a game postponed on Friday. Tampa Bay's starters allowed two earned runs in 12.2 innings against the Red Sox and the Rays' 2.07 rotation ERA is a full run lower than the next closest rotation (Blue Jays -- 3.08).
- The Royals dropped two of three to the Angels in Kansas City over the weekend. That was Kansas City's fourth consecutive series loss since sweeping Cleveland in mid-April. Since April 15, the Royals' rotation has a 6.20 ERA, highest in baseball.
- The Rays took two of three from the Royals in Tampa last week. The loss came in the third game of the series and snapped Tampa Bay's 10-game winning streak against Kansas City. The Royals won that game 10-2, the only time they have reached double-digit runs this season.
- Ryne Stanek allowed one hit and no runs in 1.1 innings against the Royals on April 23, his last appearance. Stanek has not recorded a strikeout in his last three outings after striking out 13 in 9.1 innings across his first eight appearances this season.
- Yandy Diaz had three extra-base hits (a double, a triple and a home run) and three RBI in the two-game set with the Red Sox. The Rays are 10-2 this season when Diaz plates a run, the fourth-best record by any player with 10 games with an RBI this season.
- Hunter Dozier had six hits and five RBI against the Angels, including a four-hit game with two triples and four RBI on Saturday. Dozier's nine multi-hit games since April 11 are the most in the American League over that span.
- Roof of new Rangers park catches fire
- Céspedes agrees to pay cut in settlement
- Rays nearing 2-yr. deal with OF Tsutsugo
- Brewers sign P Anderson for 1 year, $5M
- Red Sox sign LHP Perez, SS Peraza
Coming off their first doubleheader sweep since 2015, the Kansas City Royals will complete a four-game series with the visiting Tampa Bay Rays on Thursday afternoon.
The Royals defeated the Rays 3-2 and 8-2 Wednesday after losing 11 of the previous 12 games against Tampa Bay.
"It was a good game offensively," Kansas City manager Ned Yost said of the Game 2 victory. "Our boys did a good job against (Rays starter Blake Snell). The first game we scored three in the first, just like we did in (the second game). We just could not tack on another run. Thankfully for us the pitching held firm.
"(Royals Game 2 starter Glenn Sparkman) really had everything going for him today. He was confident. He was efficient with his pitches. It was an outstanding day for him."
Tampa Bay manager Kevin Cash felt pretty much the same way, just from the opposite dugout.
"It looked like Sparkman had a pretty good fastball and was able to command it the way he wanted," Cash said. "There weren't a ton of off-speed pitches. He sprinkled in some off-speed here and there, but really pitched with his fastball. Our guys were just a tick late, so it probably had some extra giddy-up. He did a good job."
The Royals will send Danny Duffy (0-1, 5.40 ERA) to the mound for the finale, while the Rays will count on Charlie Morton (3-0, 2.76) to even the series.
Duffy is 2-1 with a 2.90 ERA in five career starts against the Rays, with 37 strikeouts and just eight walks in 31 innings.
Morton is 1-2 with a 5.60 ERA in three career starts vs. Kansas City.
"I think their lineup's pretty balanced," Morton said of the Royals. "They've got guys with some power, they have some guys that have been around for a little bit, they've got some younger guys.
"It's like any other start. I'm going to go in there and take a look at the numbers and get a game plan. They don't seem to trend any way out of the norm. I wouldn't put a label on them other than a pretty balanced lineup (that) I think is dangerous. Those are the kind of lineups that give me trouble. That's what I'm looking at."
Morton knows that the Royals' speed could be a handful.
"I guess you could say they have a little bit more of a National League (lineup)," he said. "At the bottom of the lineup, they have some guys that can manufacture."
Besides their speed, if the Royals are to extend their mini-streak, they'll count on another big game from Hunter Dozier, the league's fifth-leading hitter at .337. Since opening the season 3-for-27 (.111), he is hitting .431 in his past 19 games.
"Last year, he would just try to power the ball," Yost said. "This year he's choking up a little bit. He's shortening up his swing. He's concentrating on a really good two-strike approach. He still swings at some balls down, but that's the process of being a more seasoned hitter.
"You have to get in your mind that if that (sinker) is going to start at your knees that it's going to be a ball. It's about elevating the pitches, shortening up your swing and finding a way to put it in play. He's doing a really good job of that."
--Field Level Media
Updated May 2, 2019