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Tampa Bay Rays @ Kansas City Royals Game Preview: Austin Pruitt vs Ian Kennedy

The Rays begin another must win series, they’ll look to Austin Pruitt to rebound from a couple of poor outings

Kansas City Royals v Tampa Bay Rays Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images

The Tampa Bay Rays seem to be out of their August funk as they’ve won two consecutive series as well as five of their past seven games.

They still have plenty of work cut out for them though as September nears. The Rays, heading into play tonight, are currently 65-67 and are three games back in the Wild Card chase. However, there are five teams they’ll have to pass in order to regain their spot in the post season.

One of those teams they’re chasing are the Kansas City Royals, whom the Rays begin a three game set with tonight.

The Royals are reeling after being decimated in Cleveland over the weekend, as they were outscored, 20-0. They have now lost four straight and are now 64-65 on the season, 2.5 games back in the Wild Card chase.

Starting Pitchers

Austin Pruitt suffered his shortest outing since rejoining the Rays rotation late July his last time out as the Toronto offense got to him for five runs on seven hits, pushing him out of the game with two outs in just the fourth inning. Pruitt has allowed 10 home runs this season, four of those came from his start against Toronto. The Houston native will look to bounce back tonight against the Royals.

Ian Kennedy is having the worst season of his 11 year major league career. His ERA/FIP are among the worst, if not, the worst of his career thus far. August has been particularly rough for him as he has made five starts, allowing 22 runs over 24 innings pitched.

His last time out came on the 23rd against Colorado where he allowed three runs on seven hits — two homers -- while he walked three and struck out six before leaving with two outs in the fifth inning.

Kennedy’s Scouting Report:

Kennedy throws four pitches, by primarily relies on his fastball as he throws it over 60% of the time. He can also hurl a change-up, curveball, and cutter all from about 12-15% of the time.

His change-up has been his best pitch as opponents swing through it around 39% of the time.

Starting Lineups

Today's Lineups

TAMPA BAY RAYS KANSAS CITY ROYALS
Kevin Kiermaier - CF Whit Merrifield - 2B
Lucas Duda - DH Lorenzo Cain - CF
Evan Longoria - 3B Melky Cabrera - RF
Logan Morrison - 1B Eric Hosmer - 1B
Steven Souza - RF Salvador Perez - C
Corey Dickerson - LF Mike Moustakas - 3B
Wilson Ramos - C Brandon Moss - DH
Brad Miller - 2B Alcides Escobar - SS
Adeiny Hechavarria - SS Alex Gordon - LF
Austin Pruitt - RHP Ian Kennedy - RHP