Just over five weeks ago, the Kansas City Royals were surprisingly atop the AL Central. They’ve won only eight games since, and now find themselves at the bottom of the division.
After getting a stellar outing from an unlikely source, the Royals will try to win consecutive games for the first time in three weeks when they host the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday night.
Kansas City (26-34) was 18-11 after a season-high six games win streak, capped with a victory over Seattle on May 7. That impressive start, which included winning seven of their first 10 series, put the Royals atop the Central after finishing fourth with a 75-87 record in 2008 - their 13th losing season in 14 years.
Unable to build on that early success, Kansas City is 8-23 since May 7, batting .233 while posting 4.84 ERA in those 31 games.
The Royals opened a series with a win for the first time since May 19 as Luke Hochevar(notes) pitched a three-hitter on 80 pitches in his first career complete game Friday, leading Kansas City to a 4-1 victory over the Reds (31-29). The performance has the Royals in position to win back-to-back games for the first time since May 17 and 19.
“It gets us off to a good start and hopefully we get rolling and start winning some games back to back,” said Hochevar, who lowered his ERA from 7.85 to 5.60.
The Royals will give Kyle Davies(notes) (2-6, 5.13) a chance to end his career-high five-game losing streak. The right-hander has received only six total runs of support during his slide but has pitched well at times despite compiling a 5.01 ERA in that span.
On Sunday, the right-hander notched his second career complete game opposite Toronto ace Roy Halladay(notes) in a 4-0 defeat. Davies allowed four runs and nine hits in eight innings, while the offense produced seven singles off Halladay.
“When you’ve got a guy like Halladay on the mound, you’ve got to keep it close early and it kind of got away from me,” said Davies, who threw 63 of his career-high 126 pitches through the first three innings. “I threw way too many pitches early in the game, trying to be a little too perfect.”
Davies has given up four runs or less in five of his last six starts, but all of them have resulted in losses for Kansas City. He hasn’t won since beating the Blue Jays on April 30.
The right-hander hasn’t come close to that success in his last two starts. He allowed three runs and five hits in seven innings while committing a key throwing error that led to two unearned runs in the third, en route to a 6-3, 11-inning loss to the Chicago Cubs on Sunday.
That outing came five days after Arroyo was reached for five runs and seven hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-2 loss at St. Louis.
Arroyo is 0-1 with a 2.79 ERA in three career starts against the Royals, but hasn’t faced them since June 29, 2006.