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Los Angeles Angels (43-55) at Kansas City Royals (48-49)
Monday, July 25 - 8:15 PM EST
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
The Kansas City Royals have dropped below .500 for the first time in more than two months and will try to climb back to the even mark when they host the Los Angeles Angels on Monday in the opener of their three-game series. Sunday's 2-1 loss to Texas left the Royals at 0-5-1 in their last six series and 48-49 overall.
The defending World Series champs had not been under .500 since they were 18-19 on May 15, and there is no sign of a breakthrough for the struggling offense. Kendrys Morales homered among three hits on Sunday, but his teammates combined for four hits as Kansas City was held to four runs or fewer for the 13th time in 17 games. All-Star Game MVP Eric Hosmer is 1-for-16 with four strikeouts in his last four contests but went 5-for-11 with a homer the last time these teams met in April. The Angels won all three of those encounters to improve to 11-11, but they have been under .500 ever since and will be trying to recover from a 13-3 drubbing in Houston on Sunday that capped a three-game sweep.
TV: 8:15 p.m. ET, FSN West (Los Angeles), FSN Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Angels LH Hector Santiago (8-4, 4.32 ERA) vs. Royals RH Ian Kennedy (6-8, 4.28)
After not allowing an earned run over the course of three starts and 20 innings, Santiago was reached for three runs over five frames in a win against Texas his last time out. That was his fourth victory in as many outings and left him one shy of matching his career high established last season. The New Jersey native has posted a 1.70 ERA in 12 career games (six starts) against Kansas City and has allowed three runs and just 10 hits in 21 1/3 innings at Kauffman Stadium.
Kennedy gave up seven runs for the third time this season and second in a span of eight starts Wednesday against Cleveland, lasting just 4 1/3 innings. He did strike out eight and has fanned 40 in 27 2/3 frames over a span of five starts. The 31-year-old is 0-3 with a 6.35 ERA in four career games (three starts) versus the Angels and will be mindful of veteran slugger Albert Pujols, who is 4-for-10 with three homers and a double against him.
1. Kansas City has allowed a home run in 11 straight games and a total of 79 in 44 contests since June 3, tops in the majors in that span.
2. After going 12 games without an extra-base hit, Morales has recorded three (one homer, two doubles) in his last two contests.
3. Pujols needs one extra-base hit to tie Lou Gehrig (1,190) for ninth place on the all-time list.
PREDICTION: Royals 4, Angels 3