The bad news for the Arizona Diamondbacks is their record is 16-23.
The good news is that is just one game worse than a year ago (17-22), and the Diamondbacks went on to win the NL West. Part of that surge included a three-game sweep at Kauffman Stadium, where Arizona has a 9-3 record overall.
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Pitching has been a problem this season for the Diamondbacks.
Arizona’s starting pitchers have a 4.40 ERA, which ranks 23rd in baseball. That seems bad, but the Royals’ rotation has a 5.24 ERA, which is tied for 28th. The Arizona bullpen has five blown saves after having just 13 in 2011.
Tonight’s starter is Joe Saunders (2-3, 3.43 ERA), and he was raked in his last two games against the Cardinals and Giants, allowing 12 earned runs on 19 hits in 8.1 innings.
The Arizona Republic noted that Saunders has good numbers against left-handed hitters this season, holding them to a .256 average and just two extra-base hits in 40 plate appearances. Saunders hasn't lost to the Royals in six career starts, going 4-0 with a 2.57 ERA. He faced them once last season, giving up two runs in seven innings.
Saturday’s starter is Ian Kennedy, who is 3-3 with a 3.81 ERA. Kennedy, who was fourth in the Cy Young voting last season, has gone at least 6.1 innings in every start this season and he’s given up three earned runs in seven of his eight starts.
Wade Miley (4-1, 2.52 ERA) started the season in the Arizona bullpen, but he’s made five starts, going 3-1. He’s got a 2.05 ERA in road games.
Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said earlier in the week that there was an outside shot that outfielder Chris Young could return from his injury rehab stint in the minors.
Royals fans hope Young comes back on Monday at the earliest. That’s because before Young’s injury, he had five homers and 13 RBIs with a .410 average in 11 games.
Former Twin Jason Kubel is batting .299 with three homers and 16 RBIs this season for Arizona. He has 10 doubles in 35 games. In 83 career games against the Royals, Kubel has a .230 average with eight homers and 46 RBIs.
Former Royal Willie Bloomquist has appeared in 30 games this season. He’s hitting .239 with no homer and eight RBIs.