The Kansas City Royals and Minnesota Twins have spent much of the season jockeying for last place in the American League Central. That’s no longer the case, as the clubs have veered off in opposition directions. Despite a rugged schedule in August that included 19 consecutive games against postseason contenders, the Royals have won 17 of 28 contests this month and picked up nine games on the Twins entering their three-game weekend series in Kansas City.
While the Royals are firmly entrenched in third place in the division, the Twins have dropped 17 of their last 21 games to drop into the cellar. Minnesota lost three of four to Seattle to plummet to a major league-worst 25-40 at home. A lack of offense has been the biggest culprit for the Twins, who have been held to three runs or fewer 13 times during the 21-game skid. Josh Willingham has been a bright spot, hitting 33 homers and going deep in back-to-back games.
Twins Royals Betting
When: 8:10 PM ET, Friday, August 31, 2012
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, Fox Sports North (Minnesota), Fox Sports Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Cole De Vries (3-5, 4.68 ERA) vs. Royals LH Will Smith (4-6, 5.55)
De Vries snapped a three-start losing streak last time out, limiting Texas to two runs – one earned – on three hits in five innings. He has not surrendered a homer in his last two starts after giving up 10 in his previous seven outings. He beat the Royals twice in June, struggling against them in Kansas City but allowing just one run on five hits in six innings in Minnesota.
Smith has lost his last two outings, following a pair of solid starts with back-to-back sub-par efforts. He was charged with five runs – four earned – on nine hits in five innings at Boston last time out, and was roughed up for four runs in 3 2/3 innings at Tampa Bay in his previous outing. Smith served up homers to Willingham, Justin Morneau and Trevor Plouffe in a 10-7 loss to the Twins on June 4.
1. The Royals lost their first 10 home games this season, but have turned things around by going 9-1 in the last 10 at Kauffman Stadium.
2. Minnesota has not won consecutive games since Aug. 6-7.
3. The Twins have won eight of 12 meetings with the Royals, including four of six in Kansas City.