Much has changed since.
Kansas City shoots for its fourth win in five games Tuesday night when it hosts Baltimore, which has lost six of seven.
The Orioles (42-63) outscored the Royals 20-10 during a three-game sweep May 24-26 which brought Baltimore back to the .500 mark. However, it has gone 18-39 since and traded first baseman Derrek Lee(notes) to Pittsburgh and reliever Koji Uehara(notes) to Texas prior to Sunday’s trading deadline.
Baltimore lost the final three games of a four-game set with New York, falling 4-2 on Sunday. The Orioles haven’t won a series since taking two of three against Cincinnati from June 24-26.
“These are games I want to forget about and move on,” Hardy said. “We’ve got an off day (Monday) and we’ve got Kansas City. Got to look forward to that series.”
Hardy wasn’t in the lineup when Royals starter Bruce Chen(notes) (5-4, 4.29 ERA) beat Baltimore 9-1 on May 5 after he allowed one run and five hits in seven innings. Chen will be on the mound Tuesday, though he’s coming off one of the worst outings of his career.
The veteran left-hander allowed a career-high 10 runs and threw 114 pitches in four innings of a 12-5 loss to Boston on Saturday. He had given up 10 runs over his previous four starts combined, when he went 1-2 with a 2.16 ERA.
Chen will look to bounce back and keep Kansas City (46-62) rolling after taking two of three from Cleveland with Sunday’s 5-3 win. Manager Ned Yost said he was pleased with the 4-3 road trip, which included a four-game split against the AL East-leading Red Sox.
“Two wins against Boston - in Boston - is really good,” Yost said. “Coming in here and battling with (Cleveland), and winning two out of three with a chance to take all three of them, I thought we played great baseball the whole road trip.”
Baltimore counters with Alfredo Simon(notes) (2-4, 4.23), who is 1-3 with 3.86 ERA in four starts after beginning the season in the bullpen. He’ll be making the eighth start of his career after spending parts of 2010 as the team’s closer.
Simon has pitched well despite the poor record, not allowing more than three runs in any of his four starts. He gave up three runs and struck out seven in five innings of Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Toronto, marking the third outing he hasn’t received a single run of support. The right-hander threw a career-high 103 pitches.
Simon is 2-1 with a 6.23 ERA and one save in four career relief appearances against the Royals.
“I think he should be able to go a little deeper in the game,” manager Buck Showalter told the team’s official website. “These five-inning starts with 100 pitches are not going to be something that’s going to work out over the long haul.”
The Royals have won five of the last six meetings in Kansas City.