Major League Baseball
Preview
Oakland at Kansas City
When: 7:10 PM ET, Saturday, April 18, 2015
Where: Kauffman Stadium, Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City ace Yordano Ventura left his first two starts because of cramps in his hand and calf, and while the situation remains fluid, changes to his diet and drinking habits are expected to resolve the problem. The Royals will find out if Ventura can overcome his issue and improve to 3-0 in his starts when they host the Oakland Athletics on Saturday in the second contest of a three-game series.

“It’s not just about drinking,” Royals trainer Nick Kenney told the Kansas City Star. “It’s about eating, too. And some guys get a nervous stomach. And they don’t want to eat on the day that they’re pitching. Well, that’s fuel. That’s like gasoline. If you want to go on a trip, you’ve got to put gas in your car, or you’re not going to make it.” The Royals won the series opener 6-4 on Friday in the first meeting since their 9-8 victory in 12 innings over Oakland in the 2014 American League wild-card game and are off to an 8-2 start. Athletics designated hitter Billy Butler went 1-for-4 in his return to Kansas City after playing his first eight years with the Royals. Oakland's Jesse Hahn, who carried a no-hitter into the sixth inning against Seattle on Sunday in his second start of the season, faces Kansas City for the first time.

TV: 7:10 p.m. ET, CSN California (Oakland), FSN Kansas City

PITCHING MATCHUP: Athletics RH Jesse Hahn (0-1, 3.09 ERA) vs. Royals RH Yordano Ventura (2-0, 2.31)

Hahn wound up yielding four runs (one earned) and three hits in 5 2/3 innings of the 8-7 loss to the Mariners and was hurt by right fielder Josh Reddick's two-run error. The 25-year-old Connecticut native lasted six frames in his first outing of the season on April 7, when he yielded three runs in a 3-1 loss to Texas. Hahn is 7-5 with a 3.07 ERA in his career after going 7-4 with San Diego last season and has a .216 batting average against, including .193 versus right-handers.

Ventura recorded nine strikeouts in 11 2/3 innings this season after fanning seven in 5 2/3 frames of Sunday's 9-2 victory over the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim. The 23-year-old Dominican also stared down Mike Trout after the reigning American League MVP ripped a single up the middle, and the two later exchanged words. Ventura yielded two runs in relief against Oakland in last season's wild-card game.

WALK-OFFS

1. Royals SS Alcides Escobar on Friday was helped off the field and could not put any weight on his left leg after he was injured on a hard slide by Brett Lawrie.

2. Butler, who turns 29 on Saturday and has hit safely in all 11 games this season, received his AL Championship ring prior to Friday's contest.

3. Kansas City relievers yielded three runs this season - all in Thursday's 8-5 loss at Minnesota.

PREDICTION: Royals 3, Athletics 2
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk Home Away East Central West IL
Oakland 5-6 L2 3-4 2-2 0-0 0-1 5-5 0-0
Kansas City 8-2 W1 4-0 4-2 0-0 4-2 4-0 0-0
Last Meeting
Oakland Kansas City
Date Away Home Avg HR OPS Avg HR OPS
4/17/15 OAK 4 KC 6 .242 3 .861 .417 0 .921
Player Stats
Season Series
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Oakland S. Vogt .750 3 3.250
Kansas City L. Cain .750 3 1.500
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Oakland S. Vogt 2 2 2
Kansas City E. Hosmer 0 1 1
Pitching ERA Avg K
Oakland 6.75 .242 5
Kansas City 4.00 .417 4
Season
Batting Player Avg Hits OPS
Oakland I. Davis .353 12 .995
Kansas City L. Cain .462 18 1.250
Offense Player HR Runs RBI
Oakland S. Vogt 3 5 8
Kansas City S. Perez 3 7 11
Pitching ERA Avg K
Oakland 2.97 .288 83
Kansas City 3.27 .326 61