The Royals left Kansas City feeling pretty good about themselves. They were coming off a 7-4 home stand, that featured back-to-back four-game series wins for the first time in nearly a decade and a morale-boosting Sunday win over the Dodgers. That series features impressive outings from Daniel Lynch and Brady Singer against the league’s best offense.
And then the offense stopped. Following a first inning home run by Vinnie Pasquantino to start off the road trip in Minnesota, Kansas City went scoreless in its next 26 innings, carrying that scoreless streak to The Trop.
This isn’t the first time this offense has had a scoreless streak this season, but it does come in the midst of a high level of excitement in Kansas City over these baby Royals. And as noted by David Lesky in the series preview, the road back doesn’t get any easier for Kansas City.
They have faced a tough schedule since the All-Star Break, with series’ against the Yankees, Dodgers, and Twins, all fighting for their respective division. They will face another team fighting for the postseason this weekend in the Rays before heading home to a date with the Padres next weekend. They face a Tampa Bay Team that is coming off an absolutely brutal loss to the Yankees that saw them blow a three-run 10th inning lead on a Josh Donaldson walk-off grand slam.
Kansas City are losers in five of its last six after winning six of eight and they’ll send a new face to the mound to stop the bleeding in Max Castillo. He replaces scheduled starter Brad Keller, who after giving up eight runs in two of his last three starts, was officially moved to the bullpen.
The 23-year-old righty was part of the deal that sent Whit Merrifield to Toronto and has been in Omaha since. In two appearances there, he has given up four earned runs in 3.2 innings. However, he saw moderate success in nine big league appearances with the Blue Jays, logging a 3.05 ERA in nine appearances and has a 2.40 ERA across all his minor league innings this season.
He’ll face 22-year-old Luis Patino, making just his fourth start of the year for the Rays. He has struggled in those starts, including an outing against Kansas City that saw him give up three runs in 4.0 innings on seven hits.
Michael Massey moves to the lead-off spot for the first time in his career with MJ Melendez getting the day off. Hunter Dozier is also back from the paternity list, batting 5th and playing right field.
Here are your lineups for tonight’s game.