After Monday’s 6-4 comeback win over the Cleveland Guardians, the host Kansas City Royals look for their third consecutive series win on Tuesday.
The Royals took two of three games each against the Chicago White Sox and Houston Astros before welcoming the Guardians to Kauffman Stadium on Monday.
Kansas City scored four in the eighth Monday to overcome a three-run deficit, collecting its 19th come-from-behind win. The Royals also have suffered 47 blown-lead losses, including three during a recent five-game losing streak.
After trading closer Scott Barlow and setup man Aroldis Chapman in deadline deals, the club struggled to find a reliable bullpen stopper.
The Royals hope they found an answer to their bullpen woes in James McArthur, who was acquired from the Philadelphia Phillies on May 8 and has been placed in increasingly more critical situations lately.
“Just trying to catch my breath,” he said after earning his first career win Saturday, recording four outs in Kansas City’s 10-8 win over Houston. “Focus on whatever hitter it is and what pitch that needs to be and execute.”
McArthur collected his first career save with a perfect ninth inning against the Guardians on Monday. Opponents recorded just one baserunner against McArthur in his seven September appearances, during which he struck out eight over 9 2/3 innings.
“It’s been really fun,” he said. “Just trying to stick to the basics out there, trust my pitches, trust the game plan going in and get after guys. Just try to keep it really simple, trust my pitches and have a plan for the first three, four guys that are coming up. Trust my pitches and attack.”
Right-hander Steven Cruz (0-0, 5.14 ERA) will serve as an opener for the Royals on Tuesday while the Guardians will send left-hander Logan Allen (7-7, 3.60) to the mound.
Cruz will make his seventh career major league appearance and second start after throwing two shutout innings — striking out four — as an opener last Wednesday in Chicago against the White Sox. It will be his first outing against the Guardians.
In his last start, also on Wednesday at San Francisco, Allen took a no-decision in Cleveland’s 6-5 loss. He allowed a run on five hits in five innings.
Allen is 0-1 with a 3.38 ERA in two previous starts against Kansas City, dropping his most recent outing against the Royals on July 24. He surrendered home runs to Salvador Perez and Maikel Garcia in the 5-3 loss.
Aggressive baserunning is a hallmark for the Guardians, who rank fifth in the majors with 139 stolen bases. The Guardians own a major league-best 39 steals against just seven caught stealing in 27 games dating back to Aug. 20.
“That’s who we are,” Guardians manager Terry Francona said after the club stole four bases Monday. “We always talk about being aggressive and intelligent. One without the other, it doesn’t help enough.”
Andres Gimenez stole his team-leading 29th base Monday while Jose Ramirez got his 26th, and 200th of his career. However, Ramirez was caught off second on a line-drive double play, and Gimenez was caught stealing second. Bo Naylor was thrown out trying to reach third on a grounder to short in the seventh inning and Steven Kwan was thrown out at third in the first inning.
“We were a little sluggish,” Francona said. “We ran into some outs that didn’t help. Guys’ legs looked a little bit heavy to me.”
–Field Level Media