The Red Sox are dueling the Yankees for the lead in the American League East, so they're anxious to take advantage of their visit to the Majors' low-victory outpost.
At Boston last month, the Royals lost three straight one-run decisions -- 5-4, 1-0 and 1-0. And they catch the Red Sox pitchers who beat them in the last two games, Jon Lester and Josh Beckett, plus Curt Schilling. Those three pitchers combined have a 32-11 record.
Like most clubs, the Royals usually have trouble with slugger Manny Ramirez. In his career, he's batted .333 against them with 34 homers and 106 RBIs in 102 games. Coincidentally, his average at Kauffman Stadium is also .333, and he's popped 12 homers there.
Given the task of stopping him and the Red Sox is Luke Hudson, an unheralded right-hander who is on a hot streak. As a starter this year, he's 3-0 with a 3.52 ERA in five games. He has 22 strikeouts and eight walks in 32 2/3 innings.
He started at Boston and gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings but had no decision.
KC: RHP Luke Hudson (4-3, 4.67 ERA)
Hudson explored uncharted territory in his last start, on Wednesday against the White Sox, pitching into the eighth inning for the first time this season. Though he didn't do much once he accomplished the feat, surrendering a leadoff home run before being pulled, it didn't ruin his solid outing. Hudson won his fourth consecutive decision, allowing four hits and three runs in seven-plus innings. Tuesday will mark his sixth start of the year to go with his 11 relief appearances before July 7.
BOS: LHP Jon Lester (5-1, 3.59 ERA)
Lester showed incredible poise for his age in his last start, rebounding from a disastrous three-run first inning to pitch five shutout innings afterwards. The southpaw also allowed eight hits but only walked one batter. His control has steadily improved after getting himself into several jams with walks earlier in the season.
Player to watch
The Red Sox center fielder and leadoff man, Coco Crisp, is 4-for-5 against Hudson.
On the Internet
Official game notes
810 WHB AM
Wednesday: Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett, 13-6, 5.00) at Royals (LHP Jorge De La Rosa, 3-3, 8.60), 7:10 p.m. CT
Thursday: Red Sox (RHP Curt Schilling, 14-4, 3.78) at Royals (LHP Mark Redman, 7-6, 5.38) 7:10 p.m. CT
Friday: Royals (RHP Runelvys Hernandez, 2-7, 8.54) at Indians (TBA), 7:10 p.m. CT
Dick Kaegel is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.