After taking back-to-back games away from home for the first time in 2020, the Kansas City Royals again have a chance to record their initial winning road series of the season.
The Royals can do so with a third straight victory over the Cleveland Indians on Thursday night.
After dropping the opener of this four-game set on Monday, Kansas City (16-28) snapped its season-high seven-game slide with an 8-6 win over Cleveland Tuesday. The last-place Royals followed with Wednesday’s 3-0 victory over the Indians (26-17), who are in the mix with the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins for first place in the AL Central.
“There are ifs and buts, and we have been in a lot of tough games,” reliever Greg Holland, who recorded his third save Wednesday, told the Royals’ official website. “The guys have never stopped working.”
Kansas City is 9-15 on the road this season, but has looked like a confident club over the past two days. That’s especially true for light-hitting infielder Nicky Lopez, who had three hits with an RBI on Wednesday and is batting .400 (10-for-25) with six RBIs in eight games this month.
The Royals will turn to rookie Brady Singer (1-4, 5.58 ERA), who is 0-3 with a 6.64 ERA in his last four starts. The right-hander aims to rebound after he allowed five runs and 10 hits — all singles — in 5 2/3 innings of a 7-4 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Friday.
“Obviously it didn’t go the way I wanted it to go,” Singer told the Royals’ official website of his last outing. “But, I felt I made really good pitches. They found some holes. Give up 10 singles? It’s kind of crazy. That’s the game, however.”
Singer’s major league debut came at Cleveland on July 25. In that contest, he gave up two runs and three hits over five innings of the Royals’ 3-2, 10-inning win.
Cleveland star Francisco Lindor had five hits in three games before going 0-for-4 on Wednesday. It’s just the second time in nine games this season that Lindor failed to get a hit against the Royals.
The Indians stranded 10 runners on base Wednesday, and went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position on the night. Batting .228 as a team, Cleveland has been shut out four times in 2020.
“We’re not hitting with guys on base. You can obviously see that with the score (on Wednesday),” acting Indians manager Sandy Alomar Jr. said in his postgame press conference.
“I think we’re trying too hard. We just need to put the ball in play. … Sometimes we get too big with runners in scoring position.”
Scheduled Cleveland starter Aaron Civale (3-4, 3.63) has not earned a winning decision in his last three starts, but was solid in his most recent outing versus Milwaukee on Saturday. The right-hander allowed two runs, five hits, struck out six and walked three over six innings of the Indians’ 4-3 walk-off win.
Civale, who has made 18 career starts in less than two seasons, will make his first against the Royals.
–Field Level Media