Tropicana Field St. Petersburg

Kansas City Royals vs. Tampa Bay Rays Pick & Prediction AUGUST 21st 2022

MLB | BASEBALL
TV: Bally Sports Network
Logo Kansas City Royals
VS
Logo Tampa Bay Rays
7.5
OPENNER
-165

7.5o -105
CURRENT
-1.5 +120

+163
MONEYLINE
-173

2
SCORE
3

Looking to split their four-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Royals and manager Mike Matheny will rely on a pitcher with vast experience.

Zack Greinke, a 19-year major league veteran, is slated to make his 21st start of 2022 in the game in St. Petersburg, Fla., just two hours from his hometown of Apopka, where he became a first-round selection by the Royals (sixth overall) in 2002.

Greinke (4-8, 4.13 ERA) pitched the first seven seasons of his career with the Royals, then pitched for five other teams before rejoining the Kansas City staff this season.

The Royals have dropped two of the first three games of this series, but their victory -- 3-2 in 10 innings on Friday -- came with the kind of baseball Matheny would like to see his young club play the rest of the way in a season that has not been good for the 2015 World Series champions.

Improving the pitching and defense would help.

The Royals rank 27th in team ERA (4.66) and tied for 16th in fielding percentage (.985). But Friday's victory was keyed by excellent efforts in both areas.

Though struggling with command, fellow Floridian Brady Singer kept the Rays at bay over six solid innings (two earned runs), and the defense was stellar all night.

Singer picked off Harold Ramirez to end the third inning, while MJ Melendez threw out Taylor Walls trying to take an extra base on a hit in the ninth with the game tied at 2.

In the 10th inning and the Royals 3-2, catcher Salvador Perez caught Roman Quinn attempting to steal third with one out, and Melendez finished the game with a sprawling grab in left field.

"You let athletes be athletes," Matheny said of Melendez, a catcher who is learning the outfield. "You allow him to use his instincts. Great throw, and then to end the game like that. He's fearless."

Greinke, 38, has made 17 career appearances (14 starts) against the Rays and owns a 4-6 mark and 3.36 ERA against them. He has thrown two complete games and one shutout in 96 1/3 innings pitched, and they have hit him at a .253 clip.

However, Tampa Bay also has done a fine job of pitching in the series -- the major reason they hold a 2-1 advantage.

Rays' hurlers have held the American League Central opposition to 14 hits in 95 at-bats this season -- a .147 average. -- with 10 of them being singles. The Royals have scored only six times in the three games.

Drew Rasmussen (5 1/3 hitless innings) and three relievers did the damage in Saturday's 5-2 Tampa Bay win. The Rays also were encouraged by offensive contributions from Yandy Diaz and Manuel Margot.

The team's leadoff hitter, Diaz went 2-for-3 with a double and drove in a run, giving him nine RBIs in his past six games.

Margot returned to the lineup after missing two months with a strained patellar tendon and went 1-for-4, slashing the fourth pitch he saw back through the box for a single.

"Certainly nice to have him back, had good at-bats, good swings," Rays manager Kevin Cash said. "He certainly looked like the same guy. He looked like he was really on time."

The Rays are expected to start Ryan Yarbrough (1-7, 4.75) on Sunday. The left-hander is 2-1 with a 5.30 ERA in four career appearances (one start) against Kansas City.

--Field Level Media

PREDICTION
Kansas City Royals
3
5
Tampa Bay Rays

Kansas City Royals vs. Tampa Bay Rays Recap AUG 21TH 2022

Harold Ramirez went 3-for-4 and knocked in two runs, including the game-winning RBI in the fifth inning, as the Tampa Bay Rays beat the visiting Kansas City Royals 3-2 Sunday in St. Petersburg, Fla.

The outcome handed the Rays a win of the season series. They went 4-3 and were victorious in three of their four home games.

Christian Bethancourt hit a solo home run Sunday, Brandon Lowe had two hits and a run, and Randy Arozarena posted a hit, walk, run and stolen base as Tampa Bay improved to 7-2 over its past nine games.

Rays starter Ryan Yarbrough lasted 4 1/3 innings and yielded two runs -- both unearned -- on three hits. He struck out five and walked one.

In relief of Yarbrough, Shawn Armstrong (2-1) threw 1 1/3 hitless innings for the win.

Kansas City's Bobby Witt Jr. and MJ Melendez each produced doubles, but the club totaled only four hits for the third straight game and lost for the sixth time in seven outings.

Over four games, the Royals went 18-for-126 (.143) and scored eight runs.

Royals starting pitcher Zack Greinke was attempting to win in the domed stadium for the first time in his 19 years in the majors but was removed after allowing two runs on five hits in four innings.

Arozarena got it going for the Rays in the first inning by lining a two-out single past Greinke and then stealing second base. Ramirez followed with a grounder inside first base for a quick 1-0 lead for the wild-card contenders.

Greinke ran into two-out problems again in the second when Bethancourt homered to left-center, a 107.6 mph rocket that traveled 399 feet for a 2-0 Tampa Bay lead. The shot was the catcher's seventh of the season and the third with the Rays since being acquired from Oakland.

But the visitors got to Yarbrough in the fifth, aided in part by Lowe's second error - a throwing one - that allowed Kyle Isbel to reach second.

Melendez then ripped an RBI single off Ramirez's glove, scoring Isbel to make it 2-1. Nicky Lopez barely beat Arozarena's throw home on a shallow sacrifice fly to even the game.

However, Ramirez's third hit in the bottom of the fifth, a single off Jose Cuas (2-2), made it 3-2, though a line-drive double play to first base ended any more damage.

Rays Pete Fairbanks was perfect in the ninth, recording one strikeout, for his fourth save.

--Field Level Media

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