Now here's something the Royals could do that they haven't done in 15 years -- sweep three games from the Mariners at Kauffman Stadium. That was so long ago, 1992, that the ballpark was still called Royals Stadium and George Brett was still playing.
What better guy to send to the mound than Brian Bannister? He's on a roll, having gone 5-1 in June to win the American League Rookie of the Month award. Oh, you say the Mariners have already beaten him twice? Well, be advised that those games came when Banny was trying to find himself -- and his good curveball -- early in the season.
The Mariners will counter with Jarrod Washburn, a veteran lefty who has seen a lot of success in Kansas City. He's 5-1 with a 2.83 ERA in the big ballpark. He's also 7-4 in 13 career starts against the Royals.
After winning eight straight up to manager Mike Hargrove's departure, the Mariners are 0-2 under his successor, John McLaren. The losses were tough in different ways -- 3-2 in 11 innings, then a 17-3 shellacking.
KC: RHP Brian Bannister (5-4, 3.58 ERA)
Bannister won his fifth game in June, holding the White Sox to one run in 6 1/3 innings on Friday night. Finding his form after the month's only setback, at Milwaukee, Bannister credited his slider, which was especially effective against left-handed batters, along with his sharp-dropping curveball. Going into the game, left-handers were hitting .299 against him, but the Sox lefties were just 3-for-14. Bannister already has been beaten twice this season by the Mariners, but both losses came as he went 0-3 over his first six starts.
SEA: LHP Jarrod Washburn (7-6, 4.03 ERA)
Washburn picked up his seventh win of the season in his last start -- a 5-3 win over the Blue Jays in Seattle. He threw six innings, allowing two runs, both earned, on nine hits while walking one. After the game he said his back had been stiff all day, and although it didn't get any worse throughout the game, Washburn was pulled after throwing just 86 pitches.
Player to watch
What can Billy Butler do for an encore? The rookie DH knocked in six runs with a homer and a double and boosted his average to .286. In his last seven starts for DH Mike Sweeney, Butler is 10-for-29, .345.