Royals getting a taste of pennant race

Royals getting a taste of race

MINNEAPOLIS -- For the Royals, this series against the Twins is like getting a taste of a pennant race without actually being in it.

The Royals, of course, can have a considerable effect on the Twins' battle with the White Sox for the American League Central title.

"One side's going to hate us, one side's going to love us, so we might as well go out and win some games," Royals outfielder David DeJesus said.

When the Royals dispatched the Twins, 8-1, in Friday night's series opener, they made enemies in Minnesota and friends in Chicago. But the White Sox also lost, so the Twins retained their half-game edge.

"It's cool, it's good for us to maybe be able to knock somebody out of the playoffs," DeJesus said. "Like a couple of years ago when we knocked Detroit out of first place."

That happened in 2006 when the Royals swept the last three-game series of the season, giving the Twins the AL Central title and pushing the Tigers into the Wild Card role. The Tigers, though, rebounded to reach the World Series.

Royals manager Trey Hillman sees this series as a good educational tool for his young players.

"It's an atmosphere that we hope we can be in one day, sooner than later, in the opposite dugout, where we're in a position to fight for a chance to win the division," Hillman said.

"Any time there's more people in the stands, I think that excitement carries over to a team like ourselves as we try to finish in a higher position than we did last year."

Pitching matchup
KC: RHP Gil Meche (13-11, 4.05 ERA)
Meche has one last shot at achieving his goal of a sub-4.00 ERA. He held the Tigers to two runs in six innings on Monday night, but that reduced his 4.08 mark only slightly. He's won three of his last four starts for the most victories since his 15-13 record in 2003 for Seattle. This year, he's 0-2 with a no-decision and a 7.50 ERA in three starts against the Twins. At the Metrodome in his career, Meche is 2-4 in seven starts with a 5.14 ERA.

MIN: LHP Glen Perkins (12-4, 4.50 ERA)
Perkins will be looking to rebound from his worst start of the season, when he lasted just two-thirds of an inning while giving up five runs (two earned) to the Rays. Fatigue was cited as a concern by the Twins following the start, and the club skipped Perkins' next start, placing him at the end of the rotation. The hope is the extra rest will get Perkins back on track to face the Royals. It will be the first time the lefty has faced Kansas City this season.

Crown points
The Royals will hold an open tryout camp at Mid-America Sports Complex, 20000 Johnson Drive, Shawnee, Kan., at 8 a.m. CT on Saturday, Oct. 11. Each player is required to sign a liability waiver. If a player is under age 21, a parent or guardian must also sign the waiver. For a copy of the liability waiver, e-mail Copies will also be available at the tryout camp. College players are not eligible. High school players must have written permission from their school principal. There is no registration fee. ... Hillman's offseason already is shaping up to be busy. He'll meet the Kansas City media on Tuesday for a season wrapup session, then head to Surprise, Ariz., for baseball operations meetings. After that, he'll go to his Texas home for a while. ... Saturday's game was moved to 2:55 p.m. CT from 6:10 p.m. to accommodate FOX.

 Buy tickets now to catch the game in person.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• KCSP 610

Up next
• Sunday: Royals (Brandon Duckworth, 3-2, 5.06) at Twins (Scott Baker, 10-4, 3.59), 1:10 p.m. CT

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.