Tickets going fast for coming series

Tickets going fast for coming series

OAKLAND -- The Royals have played in front of three sellout crowds in their first 17 home games. They are about to add a couple of more this weekend.

Friday night's game, with Zack Greinke taking the mound, has been declared a sellout, while Saturday night's game, with Kyle Davies the scheduled starter, is within sight of being a sellout.

Crowds of over 20,000 are expected for all four games against the Baltimore Orioles. The series starts with Gil Meche pitching for the Royals on "Girls Night Out" on Thursday night.

"A lot of that has to be with the stadium renovation, and I feel like we are providing excitement for the fans," Royals manager Trey Hillman said. "Hopefully they are excited about the club and they are excited about the job Zack has done."

Meche and Greinke were both sent home early to prepare for their starts. The rest of the team is expected to arrive in the early dawn hours.

"The next few days are not going to be easy," Hillman said. "We're going to give guys some recovery time, so there's optional hitting only."

Hillman is hoping the large crowds will provide an ample supply of energy for the Royals, who return to Kansas City after a losing road trip.

"It's an advantage any time you are playing in your own ball park," Hillman said. "Large crowds can spur you on to do things you wouldn't normally be able to do. I've seen it. The adrenaline factor can't be measured.

"The more people, the more professional athletes feed off the excitement of the fans. A lot of people make you prouder. It makes you want to perform better."

Only the A's have averaged fewer fans per game than the Royals thus far. With a solid homestand, that could change.

Pitching matchup
KC: RHP Gil Meche (2-3, 4.43 ERA)
Meche pitched well enough to win at Anaheim on Friday night and should have escaped with two runs allowed, except a missed fly ball in right field turned into a two-run inside-the-park homer. That's the only homer charged against him in seven starts this year. The good news was that Meche fired 120 pitches without having any recurrence of the back problems that have haunted him off and on since early in Spring Training. Three starts ago, he had to leave in the fourth inning because of that. The Orioles gave Meche trouble last year; he was 0-2 with a 7.36 ERA in his two starts against them. He's 4-6 with a 3.42 ERA in 17 games against the Birds in his career.

BAL: RHP Jeremy Guthrie (2-3, 4.97 ERA)
Guthrie won his first two starts and hasn't earned a victory since, but he's seen some promising signs in his last two starts. The right-hander was able to work to a complete-game loss against Toronto, and he settled down after a first-inning home run against the Yankees on Friday. Guthrie has seen his velocity ratchet back to his normally high level and may just be beginning to round into form.

Billy Butler can't wait to get home. He's a .388 hitter at Kauffman Stadium this year. His road average is under .200. ... Mitch Maier is 5-for-14 at home (.357) and 3-for-14 (.214) on the road. ... Miguel Olivo has hit safely in each of his last eight games. ... Coco Crisp is a .333 hitter (6-for-18) against Guthrie. ... The Royals completed their April 1 trade of Ross Gload to the Florida Marlins when they received right-hander Eric Basurto in return. He was assigned to Idaho Falls. The Chukars will open the season at home on Tuesday, June 23, against the Casper Ghosts.

 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
• Friday: Royals (Zack Greinke, 6-1, 0.51) vs. Orioles (Adam Eaton, 2-3, 7.18), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Saturday: Royals (Kyle Davies, 2-1, 5.22) vs. Orioles (Koji Uehara, 2-3, 4.01), 6:10 p.m. CT
• Sunday: Royals (Luke Hochevar, 0-1, 36.00) vs. Orioles (Mark Hendrickson, 1-4, 6.35), 1:10 p.m. CT

Rick Eymer is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.