The Bucs have won their last four series, two of which came against the first-place Reds. They beat the Reds in dramatic fashion Thursday night and are now 29-27 on the year, two games back in the NL Central.
They'll have three good matchups against a weak Royals rotation, with Luke Hochevar facing Erik Bedard Friday (7:05), followed by Vin Mazzaro and James McDonald Saturday (7:15) and Bruce Chen and A.J. Burnett Sunday (1:35).
Friday night starter Hochevar has a 6.63 ERA this year, although his underlying numbers suggest he's somewhat better than that. He's coming off a loss to the Athletics in which he allowed six earned runs over 4.2 innings, while striking out three and walking three.
The Royals offense is the second-worst in the American League, but they've got several talented and relatively young hitters, led by Mike Moustakas, who's hitting .278/.345/.497 so far. Alcides Escobar and Billy Butler are also putting together solid seasons.