Bruce Chen tries to put a miserable month of July behind him tonight when the Kansas City Royals go for a three-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians at Kauffman Stadium.
Chen went 0-3 with an 8.31 ERA in six starts last month after pitching well in May and June. Chen hasn't won since June 26 against Tampa Bay.
The 35-year-old left-hander's latest loss came on Saturday in Seattle, as the Mariners reached him for three runs and seven hits in six innings, dropping him to 7-9 on the year to go along with a 5.49 ERA.
"We're trying to do everything we can to get out of this funk," Chen said after the loss to the Mariners. "But you can't panic, you just have to do it one step at a time. I know I lost today, but I felt like it was a step in the right direction."
Chen beat the Tribe the last time he faced them and is 6-3 lifetime against them with a 4.84 ERA in 13 games (9 starts).
Cleveland, meanwhile, will hand the ball to righty Corey Kluber, who will make his season debut, as he replaces the struggling Josh Tomlin. Kluber was 7-2 with a 2.90 ERA in his last 10 starts for Triple-A Columbus.
Kluber made three appearances for the Indians in relief last season, posting an 8.31 ERA in 4 1/3 innings.
"He's going to get a legit opportunity," Indians manager Manny Acta said of Kluber. "Right now, Josh is in the bullpen, and we're not thinking about bringing him back to the rotation unless we have to."
Kansas City moved to the brink of a sweep on Wednesday, as Luis Mendoza pitched into the eighth inning and the Royals used early offense to roll to a 5-2 win.
The Royals, who hadn't won consecutive contests since a four-game run June 25-29, haven't completed a three-game sweep of Cleveland since May 8-10, 2006..
Mendoza (5-7) gave up four hits and a pair of runs over 7 1/3 frames in the second portion of this three-game series.
Carlos Santana homered in the fifth straight loss for the Indians. Zach McAllister (4-3) yielded five hits and five runs -- four earned -- over six innings.
"It's been a rough five days at the wrong time, I would say," Acta said. "It's hard to believe that since that last game against Detroit we haven't been able to do anything to help us win a ball game. We're not doing anything right, right now. Tonight is not an exception. We struggled with the bats and Zach struggled at the beginning."
The Indians have scored three or fewer runs in 11 of their last 13 games, going 3-10 during that stretch.
Kansas City has won six of its past seven matchups with the Indians.