Kansas City (29-42) at St. Louis (42-30)

Fair Currently: St. Louis, MO
Temp: 82° F
  • Game info: 8:15 pm EDT Wed Jun 18, 2008
Preview | Box Score | Recap

Considering the way things have been going in their own league, the Kansas City Royals may wish to continue playing interleague games for the rest of the year.

The Royals look to win their fourth straight game over the NL and take the Interstate 70 series over the St. Louis Cardinals Wednesday at Busch Stadium.

Kansas City (29-42) owns the second-worst record in the AL, but is coming off Tuesday’s 2-1 win the Cardinals (42-30), who have the second-best record in the NL.

The Royals had already taken two of three over both Florida and Arizona, and improved to 5-2 in interleague play. Kansas City, which is just 24-40 against AL opponents, is trying to win four straight games for the first time since winning a season-high five in a row May 11-16.

“We’ve played well up to this point and we just need to keep playing well,” Royals manager Trey Hillman said.

Sixth-year veteran David DeJesus went 2-for-4 with a RBI on Tuesday, and is 7-for-14 with two home runs and seven RBIs during the winning streak.

Rookie Mike Aviles, meanwhile, homered to snap an eighth-inning tie Tuesday, and is batting .333 (15-for-45) with three homers, six RBIs and 12 runs in 12 games since his contract was purchased from Triple-A Omaha on May 29.

“We have a good group of veteran guys and young guys here,” Aviles said. “It makes for a good environment. Right now our record doesn’t show that, but things are turning around.”

Brian Bannister (5-6, 5.00 ERA) looks to keep the winning streak intact when he takes the hill Wednesday.

Bannister gave up four runs and six hits in seven innings of Thursday’s 6-5 win over Texas, but was not a factor in the decision.

The right-hander is just 2-6 with a 6.36 ERA in his last 11 starts after recording a 0.86 ERA in winning his first three starts of the year. He has also been awful on the road lately, going 0-4 with a 11.74 ERA in his last five away from Kansas City.

Bannister was solid in his only career start against St. Louis on June 12, 2007, allowing seven hits and striking out six in seven scoreless innings of an 8-1 victory.

The Cardinals had only five hits Tuesday, as they dropped to 3-3 without the injured Albert Pujols, who is expected to miss three to four weeks with a strained left calf.

Ryan Ludwick is just 3-for-16 (.188) with a double and two RBIs in his last four games after going 9-for-20 (.450) with three home runs, four doubles and nine RBIs in his previous five.

Braden Looper (8-5, 4.34) looks to build off the best outing of his career when he takes the ball Wednesday.

Looper allowed three hits and no walks in last Wednesday’s 10-0 win over Cincinnati for the first shutout of his career. The right-hander threw just 98 pitches and retired the first 11 and final 11 batters he faced.

Looper now tries to win consecutive starts for the first time since April 30 and May 6. He has alternated wins and losses in his last six starts, posting a 2.75 ERA in the wins, but a 6.61 ERA in the losses.

The converted reliever also tries to put an end to his struggles against the AL. He has lost all four of his interleague starts, posting a 10.18 ERA in those outings.

This will be his first career start against the Royals. He is 0-1 with a save and a 8.44 ERA in five career relief appearances versus Kansas City.

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Starting Pitchers

B. Bannister KC vs. B. Looper ChC
9-16 Record 12-14
5.76 ERA 4.16
113 K 108
58 BB 45
1.49 WHIP 1.31


Wednesday, Jun 18