American League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, August 26th (All times Eastern)
Tampa Bay Rays (74-54) at Kansas City Royals (65-64), 2:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Tampa Bay - Jeremy Hellickson (10-7, 5.01) Kansas City - Jeremy Guthrie (12-10, 4.27)
(Sports Network) - Wil Myers and the Tampa Bay Rays will make a pit stop at Kauffman Stadium on Monday afternoon to play a makeup game with the Kansas City Royals.
The makeup date is from a May 2 scheduled game that was snowed out.
The Rays have won eight of their last 11 games but are coming off Sunday's 3-2 setback to the New York Yankees in 11 innings. Evan Longoria, who is batting .395 over his last 43 at-bats, tied up Sunday's game with a sixth-inning home run but the Rays were simply unable to capitalize in the latter stages.
Although Tampa Bay is positioning itself for a postseason push, Myers is the key storyline on Monday as he faces the team that selected him in the third round of the 2009 draft.
The 22-year-old outfielder, a former top prospect in the Royals organization, was part of the James Shield trade back in December. He has certainly lived up to expectations since being called up from the minors in June, hitting .302 with nine homers and 39 RBI.
"Now, I'll have a big league game there," Myers said. "I'm excited to play in Kansas City. I really want to win. That's the biggest thing."
Kansas City snapped a seven-game losing streak with Sunday's 6-4 triumph over the Washington Nationals. With two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Royals rallied to plate two runs. Salvador Perez drove in the go-ahead run on a bases-loaded single after he previously homered during a four-run first inning.
Jeremy Guthrie gets the start for Kansas City, and he is winless in his last three starts with a 6.63 ERA and 32 hits allowed in that span. Most recently, the right-hander allowed five runs on nine hits over six innings against the Chicago White Sox.
Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson has also struggled of late, posting an 8.06 ERA and a 0-4 mark over his last five starts. The right-hander failed to make it out of the fifth inning in all but one of those starts. Against Baltimore this past Wednesday, Hellickson served up a pair of home runs and left after giving up four urns in 4 1/3 innings.
"I think (command) is the main thing with all three of my pitches right now. They're just too inconsistent to be effective," Hellickson said. "I've got to get back to getting ahead and throwing strikes with all three of them, getting quicker outs and going deeper into the game."
The Royals have won five of six head-to-head meetings with Tampa Bay this season and they have doubled up the Rays in the runs column, 42-21.
08/26 10:42:43 ET