KC Royals Preview: The worst team in the majors is back at it tonight

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Less than a week ago, we suggested here that the time might be ripe to put the KC Royals on a "Worst Team Watch." The Royals, smarting from yet another series sweep, this time courtesy of Miami, stood 18-44; Oakland was only slightly worse at 14-50.

Then, while the Athletics' surprising spurt of decent play continued, Kansas City remained mired in misery by losing three straight in Baltimore, and another two to Cincinnati to begin its current six-game homestand. And after the Reds beat them and the A's knocked off Tampa Bay Tuesday night, the Royals have earned, at least for now, the dishonor of being the majors' worst team.

Their 18-49 record and .269 winning percentage put them slightly behind Oakland's 19-50 and .275.

That the distinction of being worse than any other big league club is well-earned is beyond dispute. Losers of eight in a row and 19 of their last 25, the Royals are a bad team fighting to avoid further deterioration. And the most immediate question is this: can they take a step in the right direction tonight against the Reds? Perhaps, but they'll need to avoid putting themselves in an early hole like the 5-1 deficit they dug for themselves after two innings Tuesday.

Which Royals will start in this evening's 7:10 p.m. CDT contest at The K?

Who is KC Royals manager Matt Quatraro deploying against Cincinnati tonight?

What will Cincinnati's starting lineup look like this evening?

The Reds, with manager David Bell at the helm, will counter Kansas City with this lineup:

Which pitchers will start the final game of this KC Royals-Cincinnati series?

Quatraro's choice to help end his club's losing skid is lefthander Daniel Lynch, while Bell is going with former Royal righty Ben Lively.

Lynch, 0-2 with a 4.41 ERA in three starts after missing almost the entire first two months of the season with a rotator cuff issue, last pitched Friday against the Orioles in Baltimore when he surrendered three runs, eight hits and a walk, and struck out four, in six innings. He's never faced Cincinnati before.

Lively is 3-4, 4.21 this season—2-3 with a 4.65 ERA in five starts and 1-1, 1.69 in two relief appearances. He spent parts of 2018 and 2019 with the Royals and was 0-1, 4.70 in eight games. Tonight's appearance will be his first against the Royals, who sold him to the Diamondbacks during the 2019 campaign. He didn't make it to the big leagues with Arizona but has pitched for the Phillies and in Korea.

Where can fans who can't attend the game find the KC Royals tonight?

Those who want to can watch the game on Bally Sports Kansas City. Listeners can hear the contest on KCSP 610 Sports Radio and on the stations of the Royals Radio Network.

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