Matt Quatraro, the rookie glass-half-full manager of the KC Royals, surely knew when he took over the club late last year that this wouldn't, and couldn't, be a good season in Kansas City. The Royals simply didn't (and still don't) have the talent necessary to seriously compete on a daily basis.
But did he ever think his new team would fare this badly? Going into tonight's game at Cleveland, Kansas City sits alone in the American League Central, a 25-63 team 20 games behind the first-place Twins, who just swept them, and 23 games behind in a Wild Card race they won't be part of, unless they change themselves significantly, until at least 2025.
And now, fresh off a 6-1 Thursday night loss to Cleveland in the first contest of the teams' pre-All-Star Break four-game series, the Royals are on the bleak verge of becoming the majors' worst team for the second time this season. They reached that dubious depth briefly last month.
Oakland currently owns the bottom of the game. But because the A's stand 25-64, all it will take for the Royals to find themselves at the bottom of the big league heap after tonight's action is a loss to the Guardians and an Oakland victory over Boston. KC has lost seven of its last 10, while the A's are 5-5 in theirs.
Who will Quatraro count on to beat Cleveland when the clubs square off at 6:10 p.m. CT tonight?
Daniel Lynch will start on the mound for the KC Royals this evening
Lefty Daniel Lynch, 2-3 with a 4.14 ERA in seven starts since recovering from a rotator cuff issue and returning to the roster in late May, gets Quatraro's starting nod. It's probably the right time for Lynch to get the ball—KC needs to stop its four-game losing skid, and Lynch has won two of his last three starts. He pitched seven scoreless innings to beat Detroit June 20, gave up only a run in six no-decision innings five days later and, despite allowing the Dodgers three runs in five frames Saturday, beat them to help KC post an impressive series win.
Lynch has never beaten the Guardians, against whom he's 0-3 with an 8.87 ERA in five starts.
Cleveland manager Terry Francona, who missed his team's recent series in Kansas City with a health issue, is sending Aaron Civale, 2-2, 2.96, against the Royals. He's pitched well against Kansas City—he's 2-1, 4.12 against them in seven starts during his five-year major league career.
What will Matt Quatraro's KC Royals lineup look like tonight in Cleveland?
Here's how Kansas City will take the field:
Who's playing for Cleveland against the KC Royals this evening?
Francona's lineup is here.
Where can KC Royals fans find the game tonight?
Fans wanting to watch the KC-Cleveland contest can find it televised on Bally Sports Kansas City (or Bally Sports Great Lakes in the Cleveland area). Those who prefer listening in the Royals' market can find the game on the affiliate stations of the Royals Radio Network.