Rays-Royals preview

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vs. Royals

Tonight-Wednesday

What's new: Royals have cooled since a 10-game winning streak carried them into first place, losing 10 of 16. Their offense has been opportunistic, ranking second in the AL in average with runners in scoring position and last in the majors with 50 homers. Alex Gordon (3-for-40) and Billy Butler (3-for-26) have been cold and got Sunday off; Alcides Escobar and Salvador Perez have been hot. Pitching is a strength, ranking third in the AL, and the bullpen powerful. Veteran OF/DH Raul Ibanez and LH reliever Scott Downs have been signed, INF prospect Christian Colon called up.

Key stat: RHP Wade Davis, the former Ray, has been among the majors' most dominant relievers, allowing only a .120 average (15-for-125) overall, .063 (4-for-63) to right-handers. He is the only pitcher in the majors with more than 12 appearances who has not allowed an extra-base hit.

Connections: Rays RHP Jake Odorizzi and injured OF Wil Myers were acquired from Royals in deal for RHPs James Shields and Davis. … Injured Rays OF David DeJesus is a former Royal. … Royals pitching coach Dave Eiland is a former Rays pitcher and adviser.

Series history: Rays lead 69-60 (though have lost 12 of past 16), 42-26 at the Trop.

Marc Topkin, Times staff writer

Rays-Royals preview 07/06/14 [Last modified: Sunday, July 6, 2014 11:49pm]

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