The Kansas City Royals didn’t go without missing some opportunities in their latest series, but they did win their first series out of their last four. KC won’t be be patting themselves on the back for too long for taking two of three from the Chicago White Sox, but nobody will complain about it, either. After doing what needed to be done in the Windy City, the Royals now head back to the K for a seven-game homestand that begins with four games against the Cleveland Indians.
This series against the club who recently surpassed KC for second place in the division gives the Royals a chance to take back their former spot in second, but losing too many to Cleveland could force the Royals to say goodbye to their playoff dreams completely. Corey Kluber will start in the series’ first game on Thursday, and he’ll face off against KC’s Danny Duffy. Both teams could struggle to get things going offensively against these talented starters.
Duffy’s 2.66 ERA looks much more impressive than his 5-10 record this year, and his consistency affords fans in KC some much-needed faith. He allowed more than two runs in only two of his last eight starts—once when he allowed four in his last start against Cleveland, and once when he allowed three to the New York Yankees in early June. He’s allowed more than six runs in a start three times this season.
Numerous Indians have eye-catching numbers against Duffy, but all of them come in a very small sample size. Nobody on the Indians roster has more than 11 at-bats against Duffy in their careers. As a whole, Cleveland hits .354 with a .662 slugging percentage against KC’s Game 1 starter, but this comes in only 65 total at-bats.
Kluber experienced similar success through the season up to this point, and his effectiveness against KC is sustained over 187 ABs. KC hits .209 against Kluber with a dismal .337 SLG%, but a few exceptions could give the Royals the edge on Thursday. Jarrod Dyson, Omar Infante and Mike Moustakas all have averages over .350 in at least 14 career at-bats against Kluber.