The Royals have some ground to make up after a disappointing homestand against fellow Wild Card contenders. The Royals have their next 13 games against losing teams - the Twins, White Sox, Athletics, and White Sox again. They will need to win nearly all of those games to move up in the standings much. Let’s take a look at what fellow contenders face this week.
Boston Red Sox (76-61, tied for first Wild Card)
The Red Sox finish their series against the last place Padres in San Diego with Clay Buchholz starting tonight for the injured Stephen Wright against Paul Clemens. David Price goes to the hill tomorrow against right-hander Jarred Cosart. Then the Red Sox head north of the border for a big series against first place Toronto. Rick Porcello, Eduardo Rodriguez, and Drew Pomeranz are scheduled to face off against Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, and R.A. Dickey.
Baltimore Orioles (75-62, tied for second wild card)
The Orioles are in St. Petersburg to face the Rays, who they have gone 10-3 against this year. Disappointing right-hander Yovani Gallardo faces Jake Odorizzi tonight, with Dylan Bundy against Alex Cobb in the finale. Baltimore travels to Detroit this weekend in what could be a big series of Wild Card contenders. Kevin Gausman, Wade Miley, and Ubaldo Jimenez are scheduled to go with Michael Fulmer, Daniel Norris, and Justin Verlander going for Detroit. The Orioles are still hoping to get pitchers Chris Tillman and Darren O'Day back soon from injury.
Detroit Tigers (75-62, tied for second wild card)
The Tigers continue their series against the struggling White Sox with Matt Boyd against Miguel Gonzalez tonight, and a tough matchup of Anibal Sanchez vs. Jose Quintana tomorrow night. The weekend series against the Orioles could help catapult the Tigers into a playoff spot. Mike Pelfrey is back from injury, but will be sent to the bullpen, and the team has said they will not call up top minor league reliever Joe Jimenez. The Tigers are hot, winning 11 of their last 14.
Houston Astros (73-64, 2 games back)
The Astros are in a tough stretch, having to play four consecutive series against first place clubs. They take on the Indians tonight with Brad Peacock making his second start of the year against Cy Young contender Corey Kluber in Cleveland. Tomorrow night, ground ball artist Doug Fister takes on Carlos Carrasco. The series wraps up Thursday afternoon with Joe Musgrove taking on Trevor Bauer. Then the Astros will head home to host the high-flying Cubs, with Colin McHugh, Mike Fiers, and Brad Peacock taking on Jake Arrieta, John Lackey, and Kyle Hendricks. The Astros will try to overcome the loss of Dallas Keuchel, who is expected to miss his next two starts.
New York Yankees (71-65, 3.5 games back)
The Yankees will host the Blue Jays today and tomorrow, with rookie Luis Cessa going against Cy Young contender Aaron Sanchez tonight. Marcus Stroman goes for the Blue Jays tomorrow, while the Yankees will go with "pitching-by-committee" on Wednesday, with Bryan Mitchell likely to start. The Yankees will then host a four-game series against the Rays. New York's pitching rotation is still a big question mark, but they will likely start C.C. Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Masahiro Tanaka, and Cessa. The Rays are expected to throw Blake Snell, Chris Archer, Matt Andriese, and Jake Odorizzi.
Kansas City Royals (71-66, 4 games back)
The Royals finish off their series against the dismal Twins with Dillon Gee going against former Royals pitcher Ervin Santana tonight. Danny Duffy continues his outstanding season in the finale against former Mizzou pitcher Kyle Gibson. This weekend, the Royals head to Chicago to take on the White Sox. Yordano Ventura will face Carlos Rodon in the opener. Edinson Volquez would be scheduled to go up against James Shields on Saturday, but the White Sox may shut him down for the year. Chris Sale could go on regular rest on Saturday instead, with Miguel Gonzalez going on Sunday against Ian Kennedy.
Seattle Mariners (70-67, 5 games back)
If the Mariners want to stay in the race they have to beat the first place Rangers. James Paxton goes for Seattle tonight against Martin Perez with Cuban lefty Angel Miranda going tomorrow against Rangers righty A.J. Griffin. They'll conclude the series on Thursday with Taijuan Walker going against southpaw Derek Holland. Seattle then gets some respite with a road trip against the A's and Angels. This weekend they'll be in Oakland with Hisashi Iwakuma, Felix Hernandez, and James Paxton scheduled to go against Daniel Mengden, Kendall Gravemen, and Raul Alcantara. The Mariners are hoping to get reliever Drew Storen back off the disabled list soon.