Probable pitchers & starting lineups, KC Royals vs. Tampa Bay, May 24

Kansas City opens a three-game series with the Rays tonight.
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The KC Royals continue their quest to take first place in the American League Central away from Cleveland tonight when they begin a three-game road series against Tampa Bay. And even if the Guardians, who lead Kansas City by a game-and-a-half, maintain their uncanny knack of keeping the Royals at bay by winning when KC does, KC has a pretty good chance to at least keep pace.

That's because the best pitcher in the AL is starting for the Royals. Seth Lugo, whose seven wins and 1.79 ERA are the league's best, will face the Rays in the 5:50 p.m. CDT contest.

Lugo has lost only once in 10 starts, a 5-0 defeat at Baltimore's hands over a month ago in which he gave up more than two runs for the only time this season. He has eight quality starts.

Who's on the mound for Tampa Bay?

If manager Kevin Cash's choice of a starter is any indication, he'll use plenty of pitchers this evening. Shawn Armstrong will start, but it's unlikely he'll go deep — primarily a late-inning reliever, he's opened three times this season and worked two innings once and one inning twice. He's 1-1 with a 4.03 ERA and 3.18 FIP.

Armstrong throws a four-seam fastball, cutter, sinker and slider and is 1-0, 2.63 in 11 appearances against the Royals during his 10-season career. He'll hope to get the Rays, whose 25-26 record has them in fourth place in the AL East, on their way to breaking a four-game losing skid.

The Royals may have to face an old friend

Because Armstrong probably won't pitch more than a couple of innings, Kansas City could see former Royal Richard Lovelady tonight. Lovelady, who was 2-3 with a 5.62 ERA in parts of three seasons with the Royals, joined the Rays last week via a trade with the Cubs; since then, he's pitched twice, lost once, and surrendered two runs in 1.2 innings. He was 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in seven games for Chicago.

Who's in manager Matt Quatraro's KC Royals lineup?

Quatraro is deploying his starters like this:

How are the Rays taking the field tonight?

Tampa's lineup wasn't available when this story was published.

How can fans follow the Royals tonight?

Bally Sports Kansas City and Bally Sports Sun are both carrying the game. Royals fans' streaming options are here. KCSP-AM 610 Sports Radio and the several dozen Royals Radio Network affiliates will have the contest on radio.

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