The Royals’ right-hander takes the mound as his team opens a three-game interleague series with the Florida Marlins on Friday at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City (26-41) has been one of the worst teams in the majors, but hasn’t played that way recently, winning three of its last four games. The Royals have scored a season-high 17 runs twice during that stretch, including a 17-8 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday to take two of three games in the series.
They tallied eight runs in the second inning and six in the fourth, marking the third time in franchise history it scored six or more runs in an inning twice in the same game. Mark Teahen had two triples and five RBIs while David DeJesus and Emil Brown each added three RBIs.
The Royals’ offense has struggled to find consistency in June, though, averaging 9.6 runs and batting .355 in their seven wins while scoring just 1.5 runs per game and batting .166 in their six losses.
“If we could figure it out, we’d skip those games where we don’t put up any runs,” said Teahen, who boosted his average to .361 during interleague play this season. “I’m just going to enjoy the games like this. I wish we could save a few of these runs.”
Meche (3-6, 3.16 ERA) is wishing the same thing as he tries to avoid losing his sixth straight start. He has posted a 5.76 ERA over his last five losses, but the Royals have scored just two total runs of support during that stretch.
Kansas City has been held to three or fewer runs in 10 of Meche’s 14 starts, including a 4-0 defeat to Philadelphia on Saturday when he allowed four runs and eight hits over seven innings. He walked one and struck out a season-high eight.
“It’s not fun,” Meche told the Royals’ official Web site. “But as a starting pitcher, you are only in control of the defense. You just try to go out there and pitch deep into games, mix up pitches and use all of your pitches.”
Meche is 9-4 with a 3.74 ERA in 17 career interleague games, but has dropped his last two. He lost his only career start versus Florida (32-35), giving up four runs over five innings in a 5-4 loss on June 8, 2005, while with Seattle.
The Marlins have dropped four of their last five games, including a 3-2 defeat to the Cleveland Indians on Thursday to drop the series. They finished 2-4 on their homestand and are now opening a six-game road trip, where they are 18-16 with 10 wins in their last 14 games.
“We’ve got to play better at home, though,” manager Fredi Gonzalez told the Marlins’ official Web site. “Like the old saying, ‘.500 on the road and better than .500 at home.’ “
Florida will hand the ball to Sergio Mitre (2-2, 1.59), who had his last start pushed back because of a sore right hamstring. The right-hander has been bothered by the injury his last two games, but still managed to extend his streak without allowing an earned run to 23 2-3 innings.
He won back-to-back starts May 15 and 20, but has received three straight no-decisions with the Marlins scoring only five total runs of support during that stretch. Mitre scattered four hits over five scoreless innings in his most recent outing, but didn’t factor into a 3-1 defeat to Atlanta on June 5.
Mitre has never faced the Royals, but the Marlins took two of three games in Kansas City June 10-12, 2002, in their only previous series.
The Royals will be without second baseman Mark Grudzielanek, who will have surgery on his left knee Friday for the second time since March.