(AP) -- The Oakland Athletics are beginning a stretch of nine straight games against the three worst teams in the AL Central, but the Kansas City Royals have proven to be a formidable opponent against them this year.
The Athletics hope they can break out against Royals starter Jeremy Guthrie on Tuesday night in the opener of a three-game set at Kauffman Stadium.
Oakland (61-53), which is in the hunt for an AL wild-card spot, split six games last week against the Angels and White Sox and now begins this run of contests against Kansas City (49-65), Cleveland and Minnesota.
"It doesn't mean because we're not playing teams above .500 coming up that you're going to play better," manager Bob Melvin told the Athletics' official website. "You have to keep grinding, you have to keep the intensity."
These teams have split six games this year, with the Royals posting shutouts in all of their victories. Oakland is hitting .180 in the season series.
Athletics hitters have produced some ugly...