MLB: Royals bring struggling offense into series opener vs. Marlins

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The Kansas City Royals will be desperate for offense when they host the Miami Marlins in the opener of their three-game series on Monday night.

The Royals have gone 22 straight innings without scoring a run.

They were blanked 6-0 by the Texas Rangers on Saturday night and 4-0 on Sunday, which also marked the first time this season that Kansas City has been swept in a series.

“Obviously, when you’re scuffling a little bit, you want to see anything fall,” said Paul Hoover, the Royals’ acting manager on Sunday. “You hit a ball hard and it’s right at somebody, but these guys are working really, really hard.”

The Royals plan to send left-hander Cole Ragans (4-5, 3.13 ERA) to the mound for the series opener. He is 0-2 in his past five starts, though he owns a 2.70 ERA in that span.

He picked up the loss in his most recent outing on Wednesday after allowing two runs and four hits in six innings of a 5-1 defeat at the Oakland A’s.

“Just trying to be too perfect at times,” Ragans said. “I’ve got to be better with execution. Get ahead. It changes a lot of things when you get ahead. Puts them on the fence instead of me on the fence, trying to make a good pitch when I’m behind in the count. If I’m ahead, I have free rein with whatever I want to throw.”

It marked the 11th quality start of the season for Ragans, but he was disappointed with the four walks he issued, two of which came around to score in the third inning.

“He’s really, really good,” A’s outfielder Brent Rooker said. “So he goes out there on an off-night for him and still only gives up two runs.”

Ragans has never faced Miami in his career.

The Marlins have won four of five after their 6-4 win against the Seattle Mariners on Sunday.

Miami rookie right-hander Roddery Munoz (1-2, 5.76) is slated to make his seventh major league start in the series opener. It will be his first career appearance against Kansas City.

He struggled in his latest outing Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, allowing seven runs (six earned) and eight hits in four innings of a 9-8 win in 10 innings.

Munoz said before the start that he doesn’t feel any pressure.

“You’re constantly competing to stay on a team to win a spot on the rotation. It’s part of the job,” he said via a translator. “At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter which lineup you’re going to face. You have to go out there and compete and do the best you can.”

Miami manager Skip Schumaker has been impressed with Munoz’s lively arm.

“We decided to get him more on the plate and not work the edges so much and then when he gets ahead, kind of expand from there,” Schumaker said. “Roddery is a guy who can outstuff guys at times. He’s growing and he’s going to be a good one if he keeps working the way he is.”

The Marlins have been good at giving their pitchers an early lead, sitting in the top five in the National League in first-inning runs.

Nick Gordon hit a three-run homer in the first inning on Sunday.

“I think it’s just having good at-bats,” Gordon said. “Guys coming out, ready to play and good things happening in the first inning.”

–Field Level Media

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