The Kansas City Royals will look to snap their six game losing streak Saturday night against the Washington Nationals at Kauffman Stadium.
Wade Davis will take the mound for Kansas City. Davis has a 5.43 ERA over 23 starts this season, making him the worst pitcher the Royals have consistently trotted out this season.
For awhile, Davis could hang his hat on solid peripherals, but those are starting to change as well. His K% has slipped to below-average, while his BB% and HR/FB% remain above-average. A worsening K/BB ratio plus Davis' penchant for allowing hard contact (.376 BABIP, 28.8% LD%) equals no relief in sight for Royals fans.
The right-hander's last start was all sorts of bad, 3 2/3 innings, four runs, eight hits, two walks, one strikeout. Bruce Chen only went 3 2/3 innings Friday night, so the bullpen could use a break, but that doesn't seem likely.
Jordan Zimmermann will start the game for Washington. Zimmermann is working on his third straight solid season, posting a 3.37 ERA over 163 innings. The right-hander doesn't have eye-popping strikeout numbers (18.2 K%), but does a great job pounding the strike zone (5% BB%).
The 27 year-old has done a good job keeping his BABIP low, sporting a .267 BABIP this season with a career .288 BABIP. He has also stranded an above-average number of baserunners while keeping his HR/9 under league average. Zimmermann isn't flashy, but he has got the job done in Washington.
There was talk earlier this season about Zimmermann being another "ace" for the Nationals, which is a bit too much praise. Still, Zimmermann slots in nicely as a No. 2 starter, and should provide a solid option behind Stephen Strasburg for the next few seasons.
The Royals have lost six straight, and the Nationals are sending the much better pitcher to the mound. Crazy things happen all the time in baseball, but it's hard to feel confident about the Royals snapping their losing streak tonight.