(Sports Network) - The Tampa Bay Rays continue their three-city road trip on Tuesday when they pay a visit to Kauffman Stadium, and a former teammate, to begin a three-game set with the Kansas City Royals.
This is the fifth leg of the Rays' 10-game road swing, which started in Chicago and will end in Colorado later this week. Heading into the weekend, the Rays were just 2-9 on the road. However, they salvaged a four-game split with the White Sox with a 10-4 win on Saturday and an 8-3 victory in Sunday's series finale.
Reigning AL Cy Young winner David Price notched his first victory of the season on Sunday. After giving up three runs through the first three innings, Price settled down and blanked the White Sox in innings four through seven. The Rays' offense plated five runs over the final two frames to complete the comeback.
For Kansas City, James Shields faces his former team for the first time since being traded in December.
"Obviously it's going to be a little different, but I'm going to treat it the same I always have," Shields said. "I'm going to go out there and compete and try to win a ballgame.
"It's going to be a little chess game out there. They know me, I know them."
Shields has a 3.09 ERA in five starts with his new club, but only one win to show for his efforts. Against Detroit last week, he allowed three runs on five hits in eight innings of work and came away with a no-decision. Four of Shields' starts have come on the road, and he is still seeking his first win at Kauffman Stadium in a Royals uniform.
The Royals were hammered by Cleveland on Monday, 9-0, as they managed only three hits. In fact, they had only one hit through seven innings against Indians starter Ubaldo Jimenez, who had struggled mightily in his previous three outings.
The Royals won the first two games of the series against Cleveland by a combined score of 12-2. However, they were outscored in the final two games, 19-3, to settle for the split.
For Tampa Bay, the loss of Shields has been cushioned by the emergence of fifth starter Alex Cobb, who takes the hill in the series opener. The right- hander is 3-1 with a 1.82 ERA on the season, and he is coming off a masterful performance against the Yankees last week. In that outing, Cobb tossed 8 1/3 shutout innings and allowed only three hits to go along with seven strikeouts.
The Rays' offense has been without Luke Scott, Jose Molina and Yunel Escobar, but all three are likely to return to the lineup against Kansas City, according to manager Joe Maddon. Molina and Escobar both sat out Sunday's game, while Scott has yet to play this season due to a strained calf.
"What it means from (Scott's) perspective, putting him in the middle somewhere and getting him hot, getting him driving in runs like he can, it just makes us even better," Maddon said. "This guy's a good RBI guy."