The last day of June will bring a new set of challenges for the Kansas City Royals to battle through in their hunt for the playoffs. After taking two of three from the surging Los Angeles Angels, KC travels north to start a road trip with three games against the Minnesota Twins.
Josh Willingham has the most experience against Duffy of any Twin, and he’s hitless in nine at-bats. Brian Dozier and Trevor Plouffe have seven ABs each against Duffy, and they managed three hits in total. Nobody else on the roster has faced off against KC’s promising lefty more than four times, and nobody has more than two hits against him.
While Duffy attempts to keep his confidence at an all-time high, Minnesota’s game one starter hopes to rebound from a shaky start to his MLB career.
Yohan Pino made his major league debut on the 19th of June. He threw seven full innings and allowed just two runs while striking out seven Chicago White Sox. The results of his next start, a June 25th game against the Angels, were far from what Pino or the Twins organization wanted to see. Against the Angels, he gave up five in only three innings pitched.
Minnesota actually demoted Pino after his second start, but brought him back up after shortstop Danny Santana went down with a knee injury.
Despite his recent struggles, Pino is in the majors for a reason. He posted a 1.92 ERA over 61 innings at the triple-A level this season before being promoted to the bigs. Pino threw a complete game shutout on May 3, and threw at least seven scoreless innings in three different starts before being joining the big league team.
After nine seasons in the minors, the 30 year-old Pino will be determined and desperate to make a statement in his start against the Royals. Since KC’s offense should be similarly desperate for success, tension will be high in Minneapolis on Monday.