Royals-Athletics Preview


The Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics both have a lot of promising talent, but each of their most exciting young players came up hitless in the series opener.

The Royals and Athletics continue a three-game set in Oakland on Tuesday night.

Behind a strong start from Eric Hosmer, Kansas City (2-2) took two of three in its season-opening series against the Los Angeles Angels over the weekend. Hosmer - in his second season in the majors - homered twice and drove in four runs in the series.

His hot start set up an intriguing showdown against Cuban sensation Yoenis Cespedes, who had three homers in Oakland's first series against Seattle, including two in the U.S. after the team's first two games were played in Tokyo.

However, neither player was a factor in the Athletics' 1-0 win over the Royals on Monday.

Hosmer went 0 for 2 with two walks and was one of three Kansas City players thrown out on the base paths. The Royals were held to three hits after totaling 13 runs the previous two games.

"That's the way we play. We play aggressive and we play to win," manager Ned Yost said. "We don't play safe. We pick our spots, and give them credit, they executed.''

Cespedes also had a very quiet game, going hitless in three at-bats with two strikeouts and walking once. Three of his four hits this season have been home runs.

With those two coming up empty, the showdown instead was between starting pitchers Tommy Milone of Oakland (2-3) and Kansas City's Luis Mendoza. Milone was outstanding in his Athletics debut, giving up three hits in eight innings. Josh Donaldson drove in the only run in the second.

Milone, like Oakland's other four starters, didn't receive much support. The Athletics had seven hits - three by Kurt Suzuki - and are batting .225 this season.

In a series between teams building around young talent, each will send one to the mound in the second game of the set.

Kansas City will hand the ball to Danny Duffy, the Royals' highly-touted prospect, who went 4-8 with a 5.64 ERA last season.

Duffy had 87 strikeouts and 51 walks last season, something Kansas City hopes he can cut down on this year. While he posted a 6.75 ERA in spring training, he recorded 20 strikeouts to just four walks over 21 innings.

"I think you're going to see some brilliance," Yost said. "He's so much better now than a year ago.''

The left-hander, a native Californian, recorded two of his four victories last year against the Athletics in Oakland, giving up five runs in 12 1-3 innings. His first major league victory came at Oakland Coliseum on June 14.

"It's cool to pitch there," he told the Royals' official website. "I've pitched well there and it's going to be nice to pitch in front of my family again. I can't wait."

The Athletics will turn to Graham Godfrey, who earned one of the final spots in Oakland's rotation this spring after posting a 3.09 ERA over the final three outings.

Godfrey made five appearances with the A's last season - four as a starter - and went 1-2 with a 3.96 ERA.

This will be the right-hander's first appearance against the Royals.