Royals hand the ball to Greinke in finale

Streaking Royals hand the ball to Greinke

Bring out the brooms. Again.

The Royals, who didn't sweep any opponent during a 79-series stretch that lasted from September 2003 to June 2 of this season, can notch their second sweep in their last five series in Thursday's finale. And over the Dodgers, no less, who have been battling all season for the top spot in the National League West.

The task will be a tough one for 21-year-old Zack Greinke, who will carry his 1-7 record and 6.01 ERA to the mound. After his last start, during which he allowed 11 runs and 15 hits in just 4 1/3 innings, the right-hander sat in a Phoenix hotel room with pitching coach Guy Hansen and broke down his delivery, searching for ways to adjust and improve. So, how will Greinke adjust Thursday?

"My adjustment is just to go to whatever feels normal and make it feel right," he said. "I'm walking more batters than ever before, I'm giving up more hits than ever before. I'm throwing strikes, but I'm also not throwing strikes.

"That's the tough part about pitching. If you have a bad outing, you have to wait five or six days to get out there again."

With those days now passed, the Royals just need Greinke to turn in a vintage performance -- and that term is used very loosely, as the righty has been old enough to have a celebratory beer for all of eight months.

That would be sweep, indeed.

Pitching matchup
LAD: RHP Derek Lowe
• 5-6, 3.62 ERA in 2005
• 1-1, 5.06 ERA in 2004 vs. KC

KC: RHP Zack Greinke
• 1-7, 6.01 ERA in 2005
• Has never faced LAD

Player to watch
Emil Brown continued his hot streak Wednesday night by rapping two hits and driving in two runs. His batting average, which stood at .161 on April 29, is now a solid .286. He is batting .395 (17-for-43) in June with two homers and 12 RBIs in 11 games.

Quotable
"I wanted to send a message and I did." -- Jose Lima on his win over the Dodgers, who didn't sign him following the 2004 season

On the Internet
 MLB.TV
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television
• LAD: FSN2
• KC: RSTN

On radio
• LAD: KFWB; KWKW (Español)
• KC: WHB

Quick hits
The Royals have won four straight games for the second time this season, the last such streak coming May 31-June 3. Both streaks have come with Buddy Bell at the helm. ... Bell's 10-4 record is the second-best start for any Royals manager since the team's inception in 1969. Whitey Herzog started 11-3 in 1975. ... Mike MacDougal notched his eighth save in 10 chances on Wednesday. He is a perfect 6-for-6 since Bell reinstalled him as the Royals' closer on May 31. MacDougal has struck out at least one batter in 16 of his last 17 appearances. He has struck out 34 batters this season in 32 innings. ... Brown has at least one RBI in each of his last five games.

On deck
• Friday: vs. Houston, 7:10 p.m. CT
• Saturday: vs. Houston, 6:10 p.m. CT
• Sunday: vs. Houston, 1:10 p.m. CT

Matt LaWell is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.