The Toronto Blue Jays just finished a game above .500 on their trip. Finishing anywhere near the break-even mark on their upcoming 10-game stretch on the road would be quite an accomplishment for the Kansas City Royals.
Toronto tries to continue its home field dominance of the Royals as this three-game series begins Tuesday night.
After getting outscored 7-1 to begin the series, the Blue Jays (65-62) avoided a third straight loss to Oakland on Sunday with a 1-0 victory. Luis Perez(notes) allowed one hit over six innings in his first big league start, and Jose Bautista(notes) hit his major league-best 36th homer to cap Toronto’s 4-3 trip.
“When you can win more than you lose on the road it’s a good thing,” manager John Farrell told the Blue Jays’ official website.
Royals manager Ned Yost would definitely take similar results as his club opens a stretch of 17 of 20 on the road, including stops in Cleveland and Detroit on this trip.
“It’s not just us,” Yost told the Royals’ official website. “Look at a lot of other teams and see how many teams are playing .500 or better on the road. I guarantee at least half of them aren’t.”
The Royals are 19-39 on the road and have lost 21 of 28 in Toronto, which has won 10 of 15 at home.
Brandon Morrow(notes) (9-7, 4.41 ERA) faces Kansas City (52-76) for the second time this season in the series opener. The right-hander gave up two hits in six innings of a 3-2, 11-inning road loss June 6.
Just like in that game, Morrow did not allow a hit until there were two outs in the fourth inning of his last start, Wednesday’s 5-1 victory at Seattle. He struck out a season-high 12 while yielding three hits in six innings.
Morrow has fanned 10 or more four times this season, and he leads the majors with 10.45 strikeouts per nine innings.
Royals scheduled starter Bruce Chen(notes) (8-5, 4.17) can’t match Morrow’s velocity, but the results have been impressive. The veteran left-hander will try to win four consecutive starts for the first time in his career after pitching six strong innings in Wednesday’s 5-4 victory over New York.
“Whenever you have a good defense, it makes you want to throw strikes, so I went out there and challenged guys,” Chen told the Royals’ official website.
He is 3-2 with a 3.40 ERA in seven starts against Toronto, with none since 2005 while with Baltimore.
Chen gets his first look at Bautista, who is 11 for 21 (.524) with three homers and four RBIs during a seven-game hitting streak.
Bautista went 4 for 13 with an RBI as these clubs split a four-game series in Kansas City from June 6-9.
Blue Jays first baseman Adam Lind(notes), who was 5 for 14 (.357) with two homers and seven RBIs during that series, is questionable after getting hit on the right wrist by a pitch in Saturday’s 5-1 loss.
Billy Butler(notes) and Alex Gordon(notes) were a combined 18 for 51 (.353) with three homers and 14 RBIs on the Royals’ 2-5 homestand that ended with Sunday’s 6-1 loss to Boston, but they are 15 for 71 (.211) lifetime in Toronto.
Butler is hitless in six at-bats versus Morrow, while Gordon is 1 for 5.