Solid starting pitching has helped put the Kansas City Royals in position to match their longest winning stretch of the season.
With veteran Bruce Chen(notes) hoping for another strong effort, the Royals try for a third straight victory overall while looking to extend their winning streak over the visiting Cleveland Indians to five games Wednesday night.
Kansas City (50-69) has totaled three runs but allowed one while winning its last two games. The Royals have won three consecutive games four times this season.
“We kind of go in spurts,” said ace Zack Greinke(notes), who pitched six solid innings in a 2-1 win over Cleveland on Tuesday night. “We’ve been pitching good lately. Most of the year, we’ve been hitting and not really pitching good. Right now, we’re pitching good.”
After Brian Bullington allowed two hits over eight innings in a 1-0 win over the Yankees on Sunday, and Greinke’s effort in Tuesday’s series opener, the Royals turn to Chen (7-6, 4.50 ERA) to help secure their first winning series since taking three of four from Baltimore July 29-Aug. 1.
Chen, who allowed three runs in five innings of a 4-3 loss to the Yankees on Thursday, is 2-1 with a 3.18 ERA in August.
“That’s what I see Bruce being capable of doing,” manager Ned Yost told the Royals’ official website.
The 33-year-old left-hander is 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA as a starter against the Indians, and 1-0 with a 9.00 ERA in two relief appearances versus Cleveland this season.
Wilson Betemit(notes) and Yuniesky Betancourt(notes) each homered Tuesday for the Royals, who have won three of four despite scoring 10 runs over that span. Betemit is 8 for 17 with two homers in his last five games.
Though the Royals have outscored Cleveland 25-12 during their four-game winning streak over the Indians (49-70), they struggled the last time they faced scheduled starter Fausto Carmona(notes) (11-10, 3.87).
The right-hander, 5-2 with a 4.11 ERA in 10 starts against the Royals, allowed five hits in five innings of a 4-0 win at Kansas City on May 12.
Carmona, however, looks to avoid losing his third straight start despite giving up three runs in six innings of a 3-2 loss to Seattle on Friday. The Indians have scored a combined four runs in Carmona’s last two starts.
“I can’t control that,” Carmona told the Indians’ official website.
Hafner, who was activated Sunday after a stint on the disabled list with a sore shoulder, is 14 for 30 in his last eight games. He is 3 for 8 with a double versus Chen.