If familiarity breeds contempt, the Arizona Diamondbacks and Kansas City Royals should get along just fine.
The clubs will complete a two-game series Tuesday night in Phoenix, the first series between them since 2017. The last time the Royals traveled to Chase Field was in 2014.
The Royals will send Jonathan Heasley (0-2, 4.32 ERA) to the mound against fellow right-hander Zac Gallen (3-0, 1.14). Neither starter has ever faced the other team. Heasley will make his first interleague start.
The Royals will look to snap a five-game losing streak. They led 4-0 before the Diamondbacks batted in the first inning on Monday but couldn’t hold the lead as Arizona won 9-5.
Heasley, 25, has been stingy on the road in his brief career, though he has yet to pick up a win. In his lone road start this season, he allowed just one run on four hits and four walks but suffered a loss at Texas on May 12.
In two career road starts, Heasley is 0-1 with a 1.04 ERA and four strikeouts while holding opponents to a .226 average.
This season, Heasley has pitched well enough to win but has received a total of one run of support in his two starts. In his last start, he gave up three runs on four hits in five innings as the Royals got shut out 3-0 by the Chicago White Sox last Tuesday.
Heasley held the White Sox scoreless through four innings, with just two hits and two walks. He allowed a leadoff double but got out of it. He wasn’t as fortunate in the fifth, when he loaded the bases with no outs.
He gave up a sacrifice fly and then recorded the second out before a two-run double by Jose Abreu did the damage.
“The pitch before also was not a great pitch,” Heasley said. “Luckily he fouled it off. Then I tried to go back and throw a good one. It caught too much of the plate. (But) I thought there was a lot of positives.”
Royals manager Mike Matheny agreed.
“He was sitting in a really good spot (after the fourth),” Matheny said. “I liked the way he was doing everything. He had a really good tempo. He had everything working. The changeup was really good. He was throwing it behind in counts. Breaking balls were there. Fastballs on both sides.”
Gallen’s 1.14 ERA is the second-best mark in franchise history, trailing only Randy Johnson’s 0.93 ERA though seven starts in 2000. Gallen has not allowed more than two runs in any start this season.
He’s allowed a total of two runs in 18 innings combined in his last three starts. In his last start, he gave up one run on two hits over five innings against the Cubs, a game that snapped a four-game losing streak for Arizona.
“It’s something that (manager Torey Lovullo) talked about last year, just that he trusted me to try and be that stopper if things aren’t going well or they’re going south,” Gallen said. “I take a lot of pride in that to try and at least give a shot to stay in the game and win the game. I definitely wanted to take on that responsibility.”
–Field Level Media