Launching Pad: Rays have been royal pain for K.C.

Carl Crawford has owned the Royals the last two years.
Carl Crawford has owned the Royals the last two years.

What to expect in the major leagues today:

Royals flushed

The Royals begin a season-long 11-game road trip tonight at Tropicana Field. And there would be better places for them to kick off this extended jaunt. Kansas City is 2-10 in Tampa Bay since 2008, and the Rays won nine of the 10 games overall between the teams last season. It was a balanced attack for the Rays, as no player had more than three homers or eight RBIs against the Royals. However, left fielder Carl Crawford did plenty of damage. He stole seven bases, scored 10 runs, hit .400 and had a .478 on-base percentage in those 10 games.

Solving Lilly

In his first start of the 2010 season Saturday, Cubs lefthander Ted Lilly shut out the Brewers over six innings. He will look to build upon that outing tonight against Arizona. One player who won’t be happy to see him on the mound: Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds. Reynolds, who has set the single-season strikeout record in each of the past two season, is 1-for-8 with six strikeouts in his career against Lilly. However, Reynolds’ strikeouts are down this season, and he ranks among the major league leaders in homers and RBIs.

A’s and Jays

Oakland’s strong start can be attributed to its AL.-best ERA, while Toronto’s recent slide can be blamed on a team ERA that ranks near the bottom of the league. The Blue Jays, however, pack more pop offensively. In the first of a four-game set at Rogers Centre tonight, it will be Oakland’s pitching against Toronto’s hitting as righthander Justin Duchscherer (2-0, 1.82 ERA) against Vernon Wells and Co. Duchscherer, who missed the entire 2009 season, will take a 19-inning scoreless streak into the outing. Meanwhile, Wells will try to improve on a homer total that already matches the one he posted through June last season.

Chris Bahr is Sporting News’ baseball editor. E-mail him at cbahr@sportingnews.com.

Sponsored link: Rays tickets available

Carl Crawford has owned the Royals the last two years.
Carl Crawford has owned the Royals the last two years.

What to expect in the major leagues today:

Royals flushed

The Royals begin a season-long 11-game road trip tonight at Tropicana Field. And there would be better places for them to kick off this extended jaunt. Kansas City is 2-10 in Tampa Bay since 2008, and the Rays won nine of the 10 games overall between the teams last season. It was a balanced attack for the Rays, as no player had more than three homers or eight RBIs against the Royals. However, left fielder Carl Crawford did plenty of damage. He stole seven bases, scored 10 runs, hit .400 and had a .478 on-base percentage in those 10 games.

Solving Lilly

In his first start of the 2010 season Saturday, Cubs lefthander Ted Lilly shut out the Brewers over six innings. He will look to build upon that outing tonight against Arizona. One player who won’t be happy to see him on the mound: Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds. Reynolds, who has set the single-season strikeout record in each of the past two season, is 1-for-8 with six strikeouts in his career against Lilly. However, Reynolds’ strikeouts are down this season, and he ranks among the major league leaders in homers and RBIs.

A’s and Jays

Oakland’s strong start can be attributed to its AL.-best ERA, while Toronto’s recent slide can be blamed on a team ERA that ranks near the bottom of the league. The Blue Jays, however, pack more pop offensively. In the first of a four-game set at Rogers Centre tonight, it will be Oakland’s pitching against Toronto’s hitting as righthander Justin Duchscherer (2-0, 1.82 ERA) against Vernon Wells and Co. Duchscherer, who missed the entire 2009 season, will take a 19-inning scoreless streak into the outing. Meanwhile, Wells will try to improve on a homer total that already matches the one he posted through June last season.

Chris Bahr is Sporting News’ baseball editor. E-mail him at cbahr@sportingnews.com.

Sponsored link: Rays tickets available

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