2:10 PM ET, September 5, 2013
Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri
Seattle: Saunders (11-13, 4.92 ERA)
Kansas City: Guthrie (13-10, 4.08 ERA)
The Kansas City Royals have very few MLB postseason chances. Still, manager Ned Yost is doing everything he can to boost their hopes.
Now the Royals face a pitching matchup that is probably not going to help either.
Seattle Mariners starter Joe Saunders is 4-0 in his career versus Kansas City while the Royals own Jeremy Guthrie has dropped his last five decisions versus the Mariners heading into the finale of this four-game set at Kauffman Stadium.
Kansas City (72-67) tied a franchise record for a nine-inning game when Yost used eight pitchers in Wednesday’s 6-4 loss. Starter Ervin Santana allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings before the manager turned to his bullpen that has produced an AL-best 2.52 ERA.
Yost’s first six relievers held the Mariners (63-76) scoreless before Aaron Crow allowed Kendrys Morales’ tiebreaking two-run homer with two outs in the ninth inning.
The Royals fell 5 1/2 games behind the Tampa Bay Rays for the AL’s second wild card with three other clubs ahead of it.
Kansas City, 18-23 versus left-handers, had a three-game win streak snapped and will try to defeat Saunders (11-13, 4.92 ERA) for the first time. The 32 year-old has posted a 2.81 ERA in seven career starts versus them, going 3-0 in five road outings.
Even so, Saunders is allowing rivals to hit .306 — the worst mark in the majors along with a league-worst 1.58 WHIP.
The left-hander ended a four-start winless streak Saturday by limiting the Houston Astros to an unearned run over 5 1/3 innings in a 3-1 win away from home. Saunders’ 86 pitches marked his fourth-lowest 2013 total.
Yost will hope that Guthrie (13-10, 4.08) gives him enough innings tonight as the 34 year-old looks to reverse his poor history versus Seattle — the only AL team he has failed to defeat since 2009.
According to the live MLB betting lines, the right-hander is 0-5 with a 5.80 ERA in his last six outings versus the Mariners Seattle.