The Kansas City Royals have not won a game in more than a week. It has been nearly three years since they won at Tropicana Field.
Kansas City (19-35) looks to end a pair of lengthy skids when it begins a four-game series with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays (22-29) on Friday night.
The Royals dropped their seventh in a row after falling 3-0 to Baltimore on Wednesday night in a game delayed 96 minutes at the start by rain. Kansas City, which managed only four hits, hasn’t reached double digits in that category during its skid, and also has been outscored 54-13.
“We have to have guys hot at the same time,” Royals manager Buddy Bell told the team’s official Web site. “It just seems like we will score four or five in one inning and a lot of that has to do with not stringing hits together on a consistent basis.”
Although Kansas City has won six of its last eight road games, winning at Tropicana Field has been a struggle. The Royals have dropped seven in a row and 11 of 13 there since the start of the 2004 season.
To try and give the Royals their first win in Tampa since Sept. 22, 2004, Brian Bannister (0-3, 4.54 ERA) again looks to record his first win with Kansas City.
The right-hander, acquired from the New York Mets in the offseason for Ambiorix Burgos, is 0-4 with a 5.03 ERA in 11 appearances—nine starts—since April 16, 2006. Bannister tied a career-high by going seven innings Saturday, but allowed season highs of four runs and eight hits in 9-1 loss to Seattle.
Bannister has never faced Tampa Bay.
Scott Kazmir (3-2, 3.95) will get the start for the Devil Rays and also will be looking to end a skid of his win. Since beating Boston at home on July 3, the left-hander is 0-2 with a 2.68 ERA in 10 starts there.
Kazmir also hopes to build off his first win in nearly a month after he allowed four runs and eight hits while striking out seven in seven innings of an 11-5 road win over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday.
“You can’t assume a win after five innings of ball. It’s just not going to happen,” said Kazmir, who had not lasted more than 6 1-3 innings in any of his previous four starts and hasn’t won consecutive starts since June 17-22. “I just have to focus on what I have to do, which is go as deep as I can in the ballgames.”
Kazmir, who is 1-0 with a 6.35 ERA in three starts against the Royals with the lone victory coming at home in July 2005.
The Devil Rays come in having taken two of three from Detroit, including a 5-3 win on Wednesday night. Jame Shields pitched a seven-hitter to run his record to 4-0, and Elijah Dukes and Brendan Harris homered.
Carl Crawford, who had a 10-game hitting streak coming into the series, went 1-for-13 with five strikeouts. He’s scored six runs in his last four home games versus Kansas City.