. UP NEXT
What's new: Starting with their July 7 win over the Rays, the Royals are 6-7, which is a sign of progress. Their overall problems are basic, as they are 13th in the AL in runs scored and 13th in runs allowed. Their pitching should be better, including a bullpen that features All-Star Joakim Soria and lefty Ron Mahay, whom the Rays could have interest in acquiring. INF Mike Aviles is among the AL rookie leaders with a .313 average.
Key stat: The Royals are 2-4 in the midst of a stretch of 28 games against teams over .500.
Connections: Royals OF Joey Gathright and Rays LHP J.P. Howell were traded for each other in June 2006. OF Jose Guillen is an ex-Ray, 1B Ross Gload a former USF star.
Series history: Rays lead 3-1 this year and 45-39 overall (their best record against any AL foe); Royals lead 18-20 at home.