Brad Radke has hardly pitched like a No. 2 starter in his last three outings. Facing the worst team in the major leagues still looking for a road victory could be what he needs to get back in the win column.
Radke (2-3, 8.89 ERA) goes for his first win since April 11 when the Twins begin a two-game series at the Metrodome on Wednesday against the Kansas City Royals.
The longtime Twins right-hander is 0-3 with 12.15 ERA since April 16. He has been shelled for 18 runs and 29 hits, including six homers, and opponents are hitting .453 against him in the last 13 1-3 innings.
On Friday, he lasted just 2 1-3 innings of a 9-0 loss to Detroit—his shortest outing more than two years. Radke gave up six runs and nine hits while tossing just 62 pitches.
He had been 7-0 in 12 starts at Comerica Park since the Tigers moved there in 2000.
“This one was pretty rough,” Radke said. “I think it’s probably the roughest one I’ve had. I just have to keep battling away and hopefully find that rhythm that I’m looking for.”
That rhythm could come against the Royals. Radke is 10-10 with a 4.36 career ERA against them.
Former Twins hurler Joe Mays (0-3, 11.07) try to help Kansas City avoid moving closer to matching that streak. The right-hander gave up five runs and four hits with five walks in only 3 1-3 innings of the Royals’ 5-3 loss Saturday to Oakland.
“Stuff-wise, he was fine, but stuff doesn’t matter a whole lot if you don’t have command,” Royals manager Buddy Bell said of Mays, who had a career-high 17 wins with Minnesota (10-16) in 2001.
Kansas City lost its fifth in a row overall after dropping a 4-1 decision Tuesday to Detroit. Reggie Sanders’ RBI double provided all the offense for the Royals, who have been outscored 76-29 and are hitting a major league low .211 away from Kauffman Stadium.
“I just repeat myself every night,” Bell said. “This is the big leagues, and my gosh, you have to swing the bat better than that.”
Minnesota will try to win back-to-back games for the first time since posting a season-high five-game winning streak from April 11-15. Ace Johan Santana allowed a run and six hits over seven innings with nine strikeouts, and the Tony Batista, Rondell White and Nick Punto—the bottom of the order—each had an RBI in four-run fourth.
“I’m trying to show these guys we can do it,” Santana said. “We had a tough weekend in Detroit. Hopefully from now on we become more consistent in everything we do.”
Minnesota was outscored 33-1 while being swept by the Tigers over the weekend.
The Twins took two of three in Kansas City on Tuesday and Thursday. They were 6-3 at home last season against the Royals.