It was a night of aggravation for the Royals on Wednesday night, as KC dropped a 14-inning marathon, 7-6, to the cross-state Cardinals. After taking a short flight to Milwaukee, the Royals will try to organize and reboot a team that was on the verge of history on Wednesday night before starting their three-game series against the NL-leading Brewers.
KC nearly had a chance to take the I-70 season series against the Cardinals for the first time since 2001 and only the second time in eight years.
Instead, Wednesday's loss gave the team a 3-3 tie with the Redbirds. Just as important, it cost KC its first Interleague series loss of the year, dropping it to 4-1 in series against the NL and 9-6 overall.
The Royals were also a win away from clinching their fourth straight series victory of the season, the first time they would have won four straight since June 2003. Instead, the team not only lost the game and series, but also may have lost starting pitcher for Friday.
Jorge De La Rosa was supposed to pitch against the Brewers, but threw six relief pitches against the Cardinals and took the loss. Now, Brian Bannister could pitch on four days' rest or De La Rosa could start again.
Not only that, but the offense didn't score in the final eight innings, resembling the offense that couldn't produce many runs in the first two months of the season.
"It's very frustrating," John Buck said.
Now, it's off to bouncing back. Can the bullpen -- which has been heavily taxed in recent days -- keep its consistent form? Can Friday's starter -- whether it be De La Rosa or Bannister -- work a solid outing? Can the team, a team that was playing so well for several series, bounce back having the 14-inning, punched-in-the-stomach loss?
Manager Buddy Bell believes the offense needs to get better.
"We need to be more aggressive," Bell said.
In the past, the Royals have started reeling after a hard loss. The team that shows up Friday -- and throughout the weekend -- could either be the one that is 4-1 in Interleague Play or the one that lost seven straight a few weeks ago.
The Royals are 4-4 all-time against the Brewers in Interleague Play.
KC: LHP Jorge De La Rosa (4-7, 5.23 ERA)
De La Rosa had another shaky outing on June 16 against the Marlins, allowing seven runs and a season-high 13 hits in 4 2/3 innings. This time, walks weren't the problem -- he issued one free pass, but it was intentional and didn't factor in the scoring. But he was in the middle of the plate all night, yielding a two-run and a four-run inning. He has worked fewer than five innings in four of his past five starts and hasn't resembled the pitcher who threw five quality starts in the first six weeks of the season. Manager Buddy Bell has contemplated shaking up the rotation, but De La Rosa is the man for now. He will pitch on the road in his next start, a much better venue (3.96 ERA) than home (6.34). He will also pitch against the Brewers, a team he pitched for from 2004 until his trade to the Royals last season. This will be his first career start against Milwaukee.
MIL: RHP Jeff Suppan (7-7, 4.69 ERA)
Suppan was spared the loss when the Brewers rallied for a ninth-inning tie against the Twins, but it was nonetheless his worst outing as a Brewer. Suppan surrendered nine runs for the first time since last July in Atlanta, and 10 hits for the first time since Aug. 4, 2005. The outing continued a downward trend for Suppan, who signed a club-record four-year contract in the offseason and began his Brewers career 5-2 with a 2.63 ERA and nine walks in his first seven starts spanning 48 innings. In the 48 innings since, spanning eight starts, Suppan is 2-6 with a 6.75 ERA and 23 walks. He pitched for Kansas City from 1998-02.
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Brown, batting .500 with 10 hits in his last five games, has also enjoyed fine performances against Suppan, going 3-for-9 with a double and three RBI