Current Conditions - Kansas City
CLEAR 77 °F
Wind: SSW 7
Minnesota Twins (47-57) at Kansas City Royals (53-51)
Thursday, July 31 - 8:10 PM EST
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
The Kansas City Royals are in the mix for an American League wild-card spot and could use more consistent production from outfielder Alex Gordon over the final two months of the season. Gordon looks to follow up his second three-hit outing in a seven-game span when Kansas City closes a three-game series against the visiting Minnesota Twins on Thursday. In between the three-hit contests, Gordon – batting .276 with nine homers – was just 2-for-19.
Minnesota is just 4-for-21 with runners in scoring position while splitting the first two games of the series. The Twins are awaiting the return of first baseman Joe Mauer (oblique), who took batting practice on Wednesday and will do so again Thursday as a minor-league rehab stint looms on the horizon. Minnesota's Josh Willingham homered on Wednesday for the third time in his last eight games as rumors persist that he could be dealt prior to Thursday’s trading deadline.
TV: 8:10 p.m. ET, FSN North (Minnesota), FSN Kansas City
PITCHING MATCHUP: Twins RH Kevin Correia (5-13, 5.06 ERA) vs. Royals RH Yordano Ventura (7-8, 3.63)
Correia has lost five of his last six starts after being torched for seven runs (six earned) and 10 hits in four innings by the Chicago White Sox on Friday. It was the second straight outing in which he lasted just four innings and he is tied with San Diego’s Eric Stults for most losses in the majors. Correia is 0-2 with a 4.26 ERA in three starts against the Royals this season to fall to 0-5 with a 4.91 ERA in nine career starts versus Kansas City.
Ventura received a no-decision in his last turn when he gave up four runs (three earned) and six hits in 6 1/3 innings against Cleveland. He has allowed 10 runs (nine earned) in 10 2/3 innings in two starts since the All-Star break. Ventura lost to the Twins on April 20 when he gave up four runs and six hits in four innings.
1. Royals RHP Wade Davis lowered his ERA to 0.99 with a scoreless inning on Wednesday and has allowed just one run in his last 33 appearances.
2. Minnesota 3B Trevor Plouffe is hitless in 11 at-bats over his last three games.
3. Kansas City OF/DH Raul Ibanez (6-for-14, one homer, five RBIs), 3B Mike Moustakas (7-for-17, four RBIs) and 2B Omar Infante (9-for-24) have fared well against Correia.
PREDICTION: Royals 7, Twins 5