Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 9/2/12
As well as the Kansas City Royals have played over the last month, particularly against their own division, they can't seem to figure out the Minnesota Twins. The Royals will try to avoid a three-game sweep and an eighth loss in nine games to the Twins on Sunday. An 18-11 stretch between July 31 and Aug. 30 helped Kansas City climb out of the American League cellar and it was an 11-1 record against Central Division rivals Cleveland, Chicago and Detroit that played the biggest part in that success. However, the Royals continue to struggle against the Twins (55-78), getting swept in Saturday's doubleheader after Friday's game was rained out. Poor play against the league's worst teams has been a big problem for Kansas City, which is 7-23 this season against last-place teams Minnesota, Seattle and Toronto. Following Minnesota's 3-1 victory in the opener, Joe Mauer hit a grand slam and Chris Parmelee added a three-run homer in an 8-7 victory in the nightcap. With the sweep, the Twins improved to 10-4 against the Royals (59-73) this year, winning three straight and seven of eight. Mauer has been a big factor in that success. He's hitting .389 in 10 meetings this season, with two homers, nine RBIs and nine runs scored. "Joe's the heart and soul of this offense," Parmelee said. "He's the heart; he makes it beat. We need him in there. I feel like someone like him is someone you can't replace - as a player and as a person." On Sunday, Minnesota will look to complete its first road sweep of at least three games since a four-game sweep over the Royals in June 2011. The Twins will start Esmerling Vasquez in his debut with the club after being acquired off waivers last November. Vasquez, who is making his first career start, appeared in 141 games over three seasons as a reliever with Arizona from 2009-11. In 31 appearances with Triple-A Rochester this year, including eight starts, he went 9-6 with a 2.87 ERA. "We're excited to see him," manger Ron Gardenhire told the Twins' official website. "I'm anxious to see how his breaking ball is. I've only watched him on TV, and TV throws a little deception at you as far as how they're breaking and what kind of snap it has on it. I'm anxious to see him get out on the mound. It'll be kind of fun." The Royals will hand the ball to Luis Mendoza (7-9, 4.51 ERA), who is coming off one of his worst starts of the season. Mendoza gave up six runs over five innings of a 9-8 win against Detroit on Tuesday, but left without a decision. The right-hander is 2-1 with a 2.79 ERA in three appearances - two starts - against the Twins this year.
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Winners and losers of Astros' ALCS victory over Yankees

Steph Curry may face suspension for throwing mouthpiece at ref

Alex Cora reportedly getting three-year deal from Red Sox

Kristaps Porzingis wants to see changes from Knicks before committing long-term

Bobby Portis apologizes for role in Nikola Mirotic fight

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Tennessee fans fly banner: 'Butch your mom still loves you'

Steelers rack up $94K in fines for penalties against the Chiefs

Kyrie Irving has no regrets about cursing at heckler who taunted him about LeBron

Tennessee's Rashaan Gaulden flips double bird to 'Bama fans, down by 22 points

WATCH: Adrian Killins injured after crashing into goat bucket

Twitter reacts to Adrian Killins leaving everyone in dust on 79-yard TD

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

The 'Can I have a quick sword with you?' quiz

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

NFL Referee Hotline Bling: Austin Seferian-Jenkins drops a call

Blackhawks get extra depth on defense with newbies Rutta and Forsling

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Most prominent sports bans on the 5th anniversary of the Lance Armstrong ban

Houston Astros hold off Yankees, forcing Game 7

Sports & Politics Intersect: Cubs owner up for Heritage Foundation post

The 'Like Mike, only better' quiz

Three Up, Three Down: Dodgers finish Cubs while Astros find pain in the Bronx

The 'Some call me the Rocket, some people call me Maurice' quiz

Kyrie Irving must lead Celtics through a disaster in search for happiness

Jacoby Brissett: The forgotten up-and-comer

NFL Week 7 Predictions

College football 2017 Week 8 predictions

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker