The Sports Xchange

MLB Team Report - Kansas City Royals - INSIDE PITCH

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Kansas City Royals will see a pitcher they have never faced Tuesday, Los Angeles Dodgers left-hander Clayton Kershaw, the 2011 and 2013 National League Cy Young Award winner.

Not that Kershaw needed to boost his reputation, but he threw a no-hitter in his most recent start.

A few of the Royals saw Kershaw with other clubs, the most being second baseman Omar Infante (2-for-9) and outfielder Justin Maxwell (0-for-7). No other Royal owns more than three at-bats against the Los Angeles ace.

"I've never faced Kershaw," Royals designated hitter Billy Butler said. "It's not hard to see him pitch. You see all his highlights. It's still different than actually facing him. It's going to be a tough task. Obviously, his numbers are up there with the elite that have ever played the game.

"His success speaks for itself. It's going to be tough. There's not a bad thing you can say about him. What do you want me to say, 'He stinks.' You wouldn't believe me. I'm not going to say that because it's not true."

Kershaw struck out 15 Colorado Rockies and issued no walks in his gem last Wednesday, an 8-0 triumph.

"The only thing I think about that is he's due to give up a hit," Butler said. "That's the only thing I think of. It's not going to be easy."

Johnny Vander Meer, June 11 and 15, 1938, with the Cincinnati Reds, is the only pitcher in major league history to throw back-to-back no-hitters.


MLB Team Report - Kansas City Royals - NOTES, QUOTES

RECORD: 40-36

STREAK: Won one

NEXT: Dodgers (LHP Clayton Kershaw, 7-2, 2.52 ERA) at Royals (LHP Danny Duffy, 4-6, 2.80 ERA)


--2B Omar Infante batted sixth in the lineup for the first time, and he went 1-for-4 with no RBIs in the Royals' 5-3 victory over the Dodgers. He batted second 48 times and leadoff five times. "He's been doing as good as anybody we've got with runners in scoring position, but he hasn't had many opportunities out of the two hole," manager Ned Yost said. "(The way C Salvador Perez, DH Billy Butler and LF Alex Gordon) have been getting on-base, we've dropped him down to the sixth to see if he can drive in more runs. You go back and look at his history in the sixth-, seventh- and even eighth-hole hitters, he's always produced a lot more offense in terms of RBIs when he's got guys that he can drive in. We think his approach with runners in scoring position is as good as anybody as we've got on this club."

--1B Eric Hosmer continues to struggle. He went 0-for-4 with a strikeout Monday, his average falling to .248. "It's a little bit about timing," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "The thing about Hos is over his last 100 at-bats, he's hit about .220. He showed it last year that over his next 100 at-bats he could hit .360. Last year, he took off when we put him in the two spot, so we'll slide him back in there right now and let him ride that out for a while and see what we've got."

--SS Alcides Escobar was back in the lineup Monday after exiting Sunday's game with a left shin contusion. He was hit by a pitch in the second inning Sunday, then came out after the sixth. "It's a little sore, but no problem," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "He feels much, much better. The swelling has all gone down. It's a bruise. It got him pretty good, luckily it was a curveball and not a hard slider or fastball off that shin. I looked at his leg today, and it looks much better than yesterday. It's still a little sore, but more than playable." Escobar went 2-for-3 with a RBI triple and scored two runs against the Dodgers.