Kansas City (10-25) at Cleveland (17-21)

Light Snow/Fog Currently: Cleveland, OH
Temp: 28° F
  • Game info: 7:05 pm EDT Tue May 16, 2006
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The Kansas City Royals may be struggling, but they again may be catching the Cleveland Indians at the right time.

Kansas City (10-15) tries to build on its surprising success against the struggling Indians (17-21) when the teams meet Tuesday after the opener of their series was rained out.

The Royals have both the worst overall record in the majors and baseball’s worst road mark at 2-17. But Kansas City has five wins over Cleveland—all at home—while outscoring the Indians 40-24 in six games this season.

“They’ve gotten hot against us,” said Indians pitcher Paul Byrd, who had his start pushed back after Monday’s rainout. “They’re Major League Players. They’re not going to lose game after game after game.”

But Buddy Bell’s team has not won since completing a sweep of the Indians last week, getting swept in a three-game series to the Baltimore Orioles. Kansas City blew a three-run ninth-inning lead in Sunday’s 8-7 loss at Baltimore, dropping to 3-6 in one-run games.

“We just find all kinds of ways (to lose),” Bell said. “I can’t explain it.”

The Royals will send Scott Elarton (0-4, 4.34 ERA) to the mound on Tuesday. The veteran right-hander went 11-9 with a 4.61 ERA for Cleveland last year before signing a two-year deal with Kansas City in the offseason.

Elarton faced the Indians for the first time since June 3, 2003, while with Colorado, last Wednesday. He allowed five runs and seven hits over five innings in Kansas City’ 10-8 victory.

He’s 2-0 with a 5.55 ERA in four starts against his former team.

While the Royals have played well against the Indians at home in 2006, they did go 4-6 at Cleveland last year.

The Indians have lost six consecutive games and also are coming off a three-game sweep. Cleveland dropped a pair of one-run games in its series with Detroit, including a 3-2 defeat Sunday that marked its first sweep at home to Detroit since June 5-7, 1990.

“We’re in one of those funks,” said Indians manager Eric Wedge, whose team has lost 11 of its last 15.

Byrd (4-3, 6.52) has struggled in losing two starts to the Royals this season, giving up 11 runs and 15 hits in 10 innings without striking out a batter.

“Anytime I take the mound and we lose, it’s a disappointment,” he said. “They didn’t bring me here to not give quality starts and to walk people. But I’ve got to keep battling. I’m not going to hang my head. It’s up to me to figure it out, make better pitches and I’ll be where I need to be.”

Byrd, who won a career-high 17 games with the Royals in 2002, is 1-3 with a 4.64 ERA lifetime against them.

One of the few recent bright spots for the Indians is right fielder Casey Blake, who is hitting .442 (19-for-43) with four homers and 12 RBIs during a 12-game hitting streak.

Cleveland has lost six of its last seven home games.

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Starting Pitchers

S. Elarton Min vs. P. Byrd Bos
4-9 Record 10-9
5.34 ERA 4.88
49 K 88
52 BB 38
1.47 WHIP 1.51