American League Preview from The Sports Network
Monday, July 23rd (All times Eastern)
Kansas City Royals (40-54) at LA Angels of Anaheim (52-44), 10:05 p.m.
Probable Starting Pitchers: Kansas City - Bruce Chen (7-8, 5.57) LA Angels - C.J. Wilson (9-6, 2.82)
(Sports Network) - C.J. Wilson tries to bounce back from one of the worst starts in his career tonight when the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim open a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals at Angel Stadium.
Wilson was rocked by the Detroit Tigers to the tune of seven runs and eight hits in six innings on Wednesday. He also walked five batters and fell to 9-6 on the year, while raising his ERA to 2.82.
"They got a couple of key hits with guys on base," Wilson said. "That's been a specialty of mine is avoiding that the last three months of the season. That was the shortcoming of the game tonight, for me."
Wilson, who had the 11th-highest walks-per-nine-innings rate in baseball in his first two years as a starter, has walked three or more batters in 10 of his 20 starts, and his total for the season (56) ranks fourth in the AL.
"Obviously, if I knew why my command was not 100 percent, then I would fix it," Wilson said. "But it's just changes. Sometimes it's little things. Sometimes you throw the ball right where you want it and there's a difference of opinion; sometimes you throw the ball a little bit off of where you want it and then with movement, it makes it hard to frame or whatever. There's a lot of different factors. But tonight, I was behind in the count on too many hitters, so that's just a bad trend in the major leagues."
Wilson has faced the Royals 13 times (3 starts) and is 3-0 with a 2.34 ERA against them.
Los Angeles enters this series on a high note after Albert Pujols homered and knocked in three runs to help lead the Angels past the Texas Rangers, 7-4, in the rubber match of a three-game series on Sunday at Angel Stadium.
Bobby Wilson also went deep and finished with two RBI for the Angels, who now trail the Rangers by just five games in the AL West.
Mike Trout added a pair of hits and a run scored in the victory. He has now scored a run in 14 straight games, setting an Angels franchise and American League rookie record.
"The scoring record is great, but I'm just doing my job," said Trout.
Dan Haren (7-8) made his return from the disabled list and allowed two runs on three hits and three walks through six innings to earn the win. He had been sidelined since July 3 with lower back stiffness.
Kansas City, meanwhile, hits the road tonight after a 3-7 homestand that culminated with a 7-5 loss to Minnesota on Sunday at Kauffman Stadium.
Billy Butler and Yuniesky Betancourt homered for Kansas City, while Alex Gordon and Lorenzo Cain added an RBI apiece.
Jeremy Guthrie (0-1), who was acquired by the Royals on Friday from the Colorado Rockies, allowed five runs on four hits over five innings in his Royals debut. He struck out four and walked three.
"I felt great out there. I felt strong," Guthrie said. "It'll be great to get back into a routine. It's been over a month really since I've been in a five- man rotation."
Tonight, the Royals will rely on lefty Bruce Chen, who is 7-8 with a 5.57 ERA. Chen did not get a decision on Wednesday against Seattle, as he allowed four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 frames of his team's 8-7 win.
"You could tell after the first inning -- Bruce struck out the side -- that he was on his game today," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "It's too bad that Bruce didn't get the win, because he pitched well and deserved it."
Chen is 1-1 in seven games (5 starts) against the Angels with a 3.23 ERA.
The Angels took two of three from the Royals back in April and have nine of 12 in the series.
07/23 10:19:11 ET