Royals relievers struggling to hold runners during 4-7 start

Only 11 games have concluded thus far, a mere sliver of the 162-game marathon, with a three-game series starting Tuesday night in Houston. But the Royals bullpen’s performance has been troubling thus far. The relievers are committing a pair of cardinal sins: They are not throwing strikes, and they are not holding runners.

Yes, 11 games is too soon to panic, but Royals fans have no basis for hope

The Royals stand 4-7, the worst record in the American League, and a fan base trained to expect the worst is doing what it’s been taught. Most baseball people like to wait 40 games, but most baseball people haven’t suffered through an agonizing run of letdowns. Still, outside of injuries or showing up at the wrong stadium, the Royals could not have done much more in a three-day span to crumble fans’ confidence.

Victory slips away from Royals as Twins win 4-3, sweep series

Wade Davis spun around in disbelief. His wayward throw home had cost his team the lead. His momentary delay would cost the Royals the game in a 4-3 loss to the Twins. Minnesota completed a dispiriting sweep of its division rival on Sunday afternoon thanks to yet another bullpen breakdown.

KC ace James Shields struggles as Twins rock Royals again 7-1

Starter James Shields surrendered seven runs in the first two inning as the Royals lost to the Twins 7-1 on Saturday in Minneapolis. In the last three seasons, Shields allowed seven runs in a game on six separate occasions. On Saturday, six of the runs were unearned. He is partly to blame for that, as is third baseman Mike Moustakas.

Omar Infante gets back in lineup

Omar Infante returned to action on Friday night at Target Field in Minneapolis, just three days after an 89-mph fastball struck him in the face.

The Rundown: Milwaukee Brewers get out of the box fast

April is a time for surprises, at least in baseball. Each year a team gets out of the box quickly, defying expectations. Take the Milwaukee Brewers, who are atop the NL Central, which produced three playoff teams a year ago in St. Louis, Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.

Look out, Mariano Rivera: Royals’ Chen is gaining on you

Royals pitcher Bruce Chen will never be confused with retired Yankees closer Mariano Rivera. But Chen, a native of Panama, shares a place alongside Rivera in the record books that he takes particularly pride in. Chen, who starts on Friday night when the Royals open a three-game series at Minnesota, leads all Panamanian-born pitchers in major-league starts with 219 and in innings with 1,483 2/3. And with 80 career victories and 1,107 strikeouts, Chen needs three wins and 67 strikeouts to overtake Rivera for the top spot in both categories.

Gordon, Guthrie, Giavotella spark Royals’ 7-3 win over Rays

As the ball jumped off Alex Gordon’s bat and rose toward the right-field seats, the relief could be felt throughout Kauffman Stadium. Gordon’s three-run shot broke open the Royals’ 7-3 victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on Wednesday and snapped the club’s streak of seven games without a home run, the longest dry spell to open a season in franchise history.

Royals recall infielder Johnny Giavotella, activate reliever Louis Coleman

Second baseman Johnny Giavotella plans to enjoy his time with the Royals, even if it doesn’t last past the weekend. Giavotella, 26, was recalled from Class AAA Omaha on Wednesday and started in the Royals’ 7-3 win over Tampa Bay in place of injured Omar Infante, who could be back in the lineup as soon as this weekend, said manager Ned Yost.

Replay from Wednesday's Royals-Rays game

Follow along on your desktop or mobile device during Wednesday's Royals-Rays game for live stats and updates from The Star's reporters. First pitch is set for 1:10 p.m. on Fox Sports Kansas City.

The five biggest problems with the Royals offense

This Royals team is seven games old now, still a baby, so small-sample-size disclaimers apply but reasonable minds can agree that the biggest problem (by far) has been the offense. The Royals are last in runs (20), and last in runs per game (2.86), slightly worse than the awful Astros (2.88).