Fans of the Kansas City Royals will quickly run out of hope for reaching this year’s postseason if they continue to witness more losses like the one on Tuesday. KC has failed to grow out of their streaky nature so far, but their next game could just as easily bring hope as it could more disappointment.
The Royals spoiled a gritty, six-inning, two-run start from their ace James Shields by failing to score a single run on Minnesota Twins starter Kyle Gibson. KC’s offense was yet again held down by a quality starter, as Gibson allowed just two singles through a seven-inning start that thoroughly embarrassed Royals batters. In the second game of their series with the Twins, KC will work to improve on their total of four runs in the last two games.
Phil Hughes was listed as day-to-day on Tuesday, but was eventually cleared to start this upcoming game. His 4.1 ERA this year overshadows a remarkable 9.42 K/BB ratio and a 0.82 BB/9. Hughes is second only to Hisashi Iwakuma in MLB in both statistics. As a team, the Royals have a .270/.323/.496 line against Hughes in 115 at-bats. Billy Butler‘s .333/.364/.619 career line against him would indicate that the Butler has a solid chance to continue his recent surge. Despite some impressive numbers, Hughes has still allowed five or more runs in five of his last seven starts.
Danny Duffy will try to use Minnesota’s lack of experience against them in the series’ second game. Josh Willingham and Brian Dozier are the only Twins with more than 10 at-bats against Duffy in their careers, and neither have fared well against him. Dozier at least has a double and a triple off Duffy, but those are his only times reaching base in his 10 ABs. Willingham is still without a hit in 11 at-bats against KC’s recently reliable lefty.
Duffy hasn’t allowed a home run to a current Twin in his entire career. It certainly looks like either offense could encounter troubles with scoring against Wednesday’s starters, but KC should have an advantage facing the recently shaky Hughes.