Chris Young showed through his first three outings why he hasn't been known as a strikeout pitcher for quite some time. He then felt the need to explain himself after recording double-digit Ks for the first time in eight years in his last start.
It doesn't seem likely that he'll repeat that performance against a Los Angeles Angels team that has struck out less than anyone else, but he hopes to have enough to help the Kansas City Royals avoid a fifth straight road loss Wednesday night.
Young (1-3, 6.41 ERA) lost each of his first three starts while combining for 10 strikeouts and allowed 10 runs in 8 2/3 innings over his second and third. He bounced back Friday, though, fanning 10 for the first time since doing so against San Francisco on April 24, 2008, and giving up two runs in six innings of a 4-2 win over Baltimore.
''Certainly the last two games, I struggled a little bit,'' said Young, whose 6.57 strikeouts per nine innings ranks 98th among starters since 2008. ''It's a function of making good pitches. You're not throwing the ball expecting a strikeout or swings and misses. To me just winning the game the night I pitch is the most important thing, whether I strike out 27 guys or no batters, I could care less what the strikeouts are.''
Young's chances for Ks might be few and far between in this start as the Angles' 108 strikeouts are the fewest in the majors. The right-hander's only appearance against Los Angeles (10-11) last season was in early April when he threw two scoreless innings of relief.
Mike Trout's only hit off Young in six at-bats left the park, and Kole Calhoun is 4 for 4 with a homer.
Trout is 11 for 24 with three homers during a seven-game hitting streak and had a two-run single in Tuesday's 9-4 win over Kansas City (12-8). Former Royal Johnny Giavotella hit a three-run homer and Yunel Escobar had four hits for the Angels, who finished with season highs for runs and hits (14).
Los Angeles will look to complete a three-game sweep of the World Series champions as they hand the ball to Nick Tropeano (1-0, 1.69). The right-hander allowed two runs and two hits and issued two walks in the first inning Friday, then gave up two hits over the next 4 1/3 before the Angels lost to Seattle 5-2 in 10 innings.
It was only the 14th career start for the 25-year-old. He's pitched into the sixth in each of his three outings this season after taking the injured Andrew Heaney's spot in the rotation.
''My fastball command was poor early, but I thought I made a little bit of an adjustment after the first and executed those pitches early in the count instead of nit-picking at the corners,'' Tropeano said. ''I was being aggressive, feeding off that fastball command, and that makes every other pitch better.''
Tropeano has never faced the Royals, who are coming off their first loss in 12 games when they've scored at least four runs.
Kansas City is hitting .211 during its road skid despite finishing with six doubles Tuesday, the most it's had since belting seven against the Angels on Aug. 15.
Mike Moustakas homered in the first, and Eric Hosmer's fifth-inning single extended his hitting streak to a career high-tying 16.
The Royals had won 10 of the previous 11 meetings in Anaheim, including the postseason, prior to this series.