Royals Vs. Rays: Kansas City Looking To Stay In Contention

KANSAS CITY, MO - APRIL 20: First baseman Eric Hosmer #35 of the Kansas City Royals hits a single against the Toronto Blue Jays at Kauffman Stadium on April 20, 2012 in Kansas City, Missouri. The Blue Jays defeated the Royals 4-3. (Photo by Tim Umphrey/Getty Images)

A poor series against Tampa Bay could have Kansas City thinking about next year.

The Kansas City Royals have been hovering around five games out of the AL Central crown for the last couple of weeks, but with the team now six games out and a series scheduled against the Rays this week, it is now or never for Kansas City.

The Royals had been one of the hotter teams in baseball, winning seven of nine games before getting swept by the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend.

Looking to stop the bleeding on Monday is Luke Hochevar (4-7, 5.65 ERA). The 28-year old is throwing the best he has all season, allowing just three runs total in his last two starts.

Meanwhile, the Royals will get their first look of the season at Alex Cobb (3-3, 3.82 ERA). In his start against Kansas City last year, Cobb threw seven shutout innings.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. CT, and the game can be seen on Fox Sports Kansas City.

Baseball Nation is your source for news, notes and analysis around Major League Baseball. Head over to Royals Review to read more about the Kansas City Royals and check out DRaysBay for the Tampa Bay Rays fans' perspective.

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