|4:07 PM PT5:07 PM MT6:07 PM CT7:07 PM ET19:07 ET23:07 GMT7:07 4:07 PM MST6:07 PM EST6:37 PM VEN3:07 UAE (+1)6:07 PM CT, June 28, 2019
Rogers Centre, Toronto, Ontario Attendance: 18,399
Duffy to start for Kansas City in lid-lifter at Toronto
Kansas City Royals at Toronto Blue Jays
- The Royals lost two of three games in their most recent series against Cleveland, but the team has won six of its last 11 games overall. Since June 16, Kansas City is batting an MLB-best .378 (37-for-98) with runners in scoring position.
- The Blue Jays were swept by the Yankees in their last series, losing three games by a total of four runs. At the mid-point of the season, Toronto's 29-52 (.358) record is its worst through 81 games in a season since 1981 - 27-54 (.333).
- Kansas City has played 81 games this season, and Whit Merrifield leads the majors with 103 hits. Merrifield's 103 hits are the most by a Royals player in the team's first 81 games of a season since Mike Sweeney had 106 in 2002.
- Adalberto Mondesi has 30 extra-base hits and 27 stolen bases this season. He is the first AL player 24 years old or younger with 30+ extra-base hits and 25+ stolen bases prior to July since Roberto Alomar in 1991 (based on season age).
- Since being recalled from the minors on May 24, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has posted a .347/.385/.727 slash line with 12 home runs in 31 games. Over that time, Gurriel ranks third in the majors with a 1.112 OPS, trailing only Ketel Marte (1.210) and Mike Trout (1.136; min. 100 PA).
- Freddy Galvis has drawn one walk in 101 plate appearances against left-handed pitchers this season. Kansas City's scheduled starter, Danny Duffy, has walked at least one batter in 41 consecutive appearances, the second-longest active streak in the majors behind Toronto's Aaron Sanchez (56).
- Study: Seams on balls behind HR surge
- Cole to Yanks for record $324M, 9 years
- SS Gregorius to Phils for 1 year, $14M
- White Sox acquire RF Mazara from Rangers
- Nats give Strasburg $245M for 7 years
In 2015, the Kansas City Royals defeated the Toronto Blue Jays in a six-game American League Championship Series and went on to win the World Series.
When the Royals visit the Blue Jays on Friday night for the opener of a four-game series, both teams are hoping to avoid triple-digit losses this season.
The teams had Thursday off, having reached the halfway point in their respective schedules Wednesday, and both are on pace to lose 100 or more games.
Toronto is 29-52 after losing three straight to the New York Yankees to complete a 2-4 road trip. The Royals are 28-53 after losing two of three of a road series against the Cleveland Indians.
The Royals will start left-hander Danny Duffy (3-3, 4.48 ERA) Friday, and the Blue Jays have not named a starter.
The Blue Jays won two of three from the Boston Red Sox before dropping three close games in New York, including an 8-7 loss Wednesday.
"I could say it's disheartening, but it's not," Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said. "It was a solid road trip. We played good baseball. ... We were in every game against two of the best teams in baseball.
"It's tough. It's a grind. But I'm glad we're playing good baseball. Good games against good teams."
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. hit two home runs Wednesday, going 3-for-5 with four RBIs. He is 42-for-121 (.347) with 12 home runs and 24 RBIs in 31 games since being recalled from Triple-A Buffalo May 24 and was converted from a middle infielder to left fielder.
The Royals have split their past 10 games. Their win in Cleveland came Tuesday when the first career grand slam by third baseman Hunter Dozier keyed a five-run ninth inning.
Dozier, who is batting .297/.380/.574 with 13 homers and 42 RBIs, was a finalist for starting third baseman on the American League All-Star team, though Houston's Alex Bregman won the honor.
"It's just been enjoyable to watch his development," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Dozier. "You look at his at-bat (Tuesday) night -- he didn't elevate the importance of it. He just treated it like any other at-bat and went up there and put a good swing on it."
Yost also appreciates Dozier's improvement defensively.
"There was a time last year when we really had no idea where we would play him," Yost said. "We thought about right field or maybe first base. His defense just wasn't good enough to consider him an everyday third baseman. But all of that has changed. His defensive improvement has been phenomenal.
"He's a guy now who has the third-base job. He can still play some other positions, but he has grown into third base. There isn't a play he can't make now, and he's making them. And he has gotten better through hard work."
Duffy pitched a season-high eight innings without factoring into the decision Saturday afternoon at home, as the Royals fell 5-3 to the Minnesota Twins in 10 innings. He walked two and struck out four while permitting three runs on six hits, including three solo home runs. Duffy is 2-3 with a 4.86 ERA in seven career appearances against the Blue Jays.
The teams play a three-game series in Kansas City July 29-31.
--Field Level Media
Updated June 27, 2019