By Times Staff Writer
Published September 10, 2004
SCOUTING REPORT: The joke Thursday was the Rays are catching the Royals at the right time. After a 26-5 romp over the Tigers, they would be too tired from running around the bases.
Despite the outburst in the first game of Thursday's doubleheader, it has been a frustrating and disappointing season for Kansas City, which won 83 games last season but is last in the Central Division and will have to fight to avoid 100 losses. The team's 49-88 mark entering Thursday was its worst ever after 137 games.
The team has problems on both sides of the field. Entering Thursday, the Royals' pitching staff was last in the league in ERA (5.12), saves (21), hits and runs allowed and strikeouts. With the bat, the team was second to last with a .259 average (ahead of Tampa Bay's .255), hits and total bases. It was 11th in the 14-team league with 131 home runs. Another sign of trouble: the team has used 57 players this season, three more than the record set in 2003. And left-hander Darrell May entered Thursday leading the league with 16 losses and was tied for third with 31 home runs allowed.
A bright spot has been infielder Joe Randa, who, through the first game of Thursday's doubleheader, was on a .439 tear (25-for-57) with three home runs, nine RBIs and 15 runs in his last 13 games.
Now, back to those good omens for the Rays. The Royals are 8-19 against the East. Hey, you take what you can get.
SEASON SERIES: The Rays swept three games at Tropicana Field, the only games between the teams this season. Tampa Bay trails the series 26-27 and has lost seven of its past nine at Kauffman Stadium.