American League Preview from The Sports Network
Tuesday, April 15th (All times Eastern)
Kansas City Royals (4-7) at Houston Astros (5-8), 8:10 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - Yordano Ventura (0-0, 0.00) Houston - Lucas Harrell (0-2, 11.05)
(SportsNetwork.com) - The Kansas City Royals hope that Yordano Ventura can help them snap a three-game losing streak on Tuesday night as the righty gets the call for the opener of a three-game set with the Houston Astros.
Ventura will make the fifth start of his career tonight and put together a solid season debut on April 8. While he did not factor into the Royals' 1-0 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays, the 22-year-old did his part by scattering two hits without a walk over six scoreless innings. Ventura also struck out six batters over his 95 pitches.
Ventura went 0-1 with a 3.52 earned run average in three starts last season to begin his MLB career and faces the Astros for the first time.
Kansas City has lost four of its last five overall and was swept in three games by the Minnesota Twins over the weekend. The Royals were outscored 17-2 in losing the first two games, then dropped a close 4-3 decision in Sunday's finale.
Starter Jason Vargas hurled six scoreless innings before giving up a two-run homer in the seventh frame to snap a tie game. The Royals battled back with three runs in the top of the eighth to go ahead, but the Twins scored a pair of runs on reliever Wade Davis' throwing error in the bottom of the frame.
"I think everybody's trying to do too much right now," Royals manager Ned Yost said.
Houston needed to do just a little bit more versus the Texas Rangers over the weekend as it dropped a pair of 1-0 decisions around a 6-5 victory on Saturday. Sunday's one-run setback denied the Astros their first series win over the Rangers since 2008.
Brett Oberholtzer allowed just one run on five hits while striking out seven over seven innings, but took a hard-luck loss as the Rangers' Martin Perez hurled eight scoreless frames.
"I just felt like he mixed and matched pretty good and kept us off-balance and got into some predictable fastball counts and threw changeups," Astros manager Bo Porter said of Perez. "We were out in front and he was able to induce some ground-ball double plays."
Houston lost for the fifth time in seven games overall.
Astros starter Lucas Harrell has struggled over his first two starts of the season and will try to avoid falling to 0-3 tonight.
The right-handed Harrell has been charged with nine earned runs over 7 1/3 innings in losing his first two outings, a home setback to the Los Angeles Angels on April 4 and a 7-3 decision at Toronto on Wednesday. He also has giving up 14 hits and six walks in those two games.
Harrell's two-start performance this year is around par for two previous encounters with the Royals. He has not posted a decision in those games, but has a 5.23 ERA while giving up six runs, 11 hits and six walks in 10 1/3 innings.
The Royals have won six of their last eight against the Astros, but lost two of three in Houston a season ago.
04/15 10:50:08 ET