KANSAS CITY, MO - JUNE 27: Alcides Escobar #2 of the Kansas City Royals celebrates his home run against the Tampa Bay Rays in the third inning at Kauffman Stadium on June 27, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
Friday: 7:10pm. TV: FSN. Probables: Brian Duensing vs. Luis Mendoza
Saturday: 12:10pm and 6:10pm. TV: FSN at noon, FOX at night. Probables: Scott Diamond vs. Jonathan Sanchez, Cole De Vries vs. Luke Hochevar
- Sunday: 1:10pm. TV: FSN. Probables: Francisco Liriano vs. Bruce Chen
- Remember, new rules allow teams to have 26 players on the roster for doubleheaders; that's how Cole De Vries was called up without a corresponding roster move to send anyone down. De Vries made three starts in his earlier stint with the team, pitching exactly five innings in each and going 1-1 with a 4.20 ERA.
- Sunday's pitching matchup is a re-match from June 5, when Chen and the Royals beat Liriano and the Twins 1-0, in what was Minnesota's only 1-0 loss on the year.
- The Twins begin the series four and a half games adrift of the Royals for fourth place in the AL Central, and ten games behind division-leading Chicago. But hey, they're only a game behind Seattle for thirteenth in the American League! That's something, right?
- Remember those "Justin Morneau is back!" stories? Morneau's hitting .207/.281/.287 in 22 June games, with only one home run.
- Brian Dozier needs one more error to tie Wilson Betemit for the American League lead. In a COMPLETELY unrelated story, Jamey Carroll has a .378 on-base percentage this month.
- Kansas City arrives in town fresh off a home sweep of the Rays, and outscored Tampa 21-6 in the series.
- The Royals have never won a series at Target Field, where they are 6-13.
- Luke Hochevar, who starts Saturday night, threw a complete-game shutout on Monday, his second career shutout. The righthander owns a 5.02 ERA for the year after struggling early, but he didn't allow a run in either of his last two starts, striking out 14 on the way in 16.2 innings.
- Keep an eye on Alcides Escobar . The 25-year-old shortstop - already in his third full major-league season - has entered "finally figured it out" territory. After two years of Punto-like numbers, Escobar is hitting .315 and has 19 doubles, tops among AL shortstops in both categories.
- If you click over to Royals Review this weekend, you might note it's under new management. The great Will McDonald has departed, and the Royals Authority guys have taken over. Congratulations to everyone over there on the changes.