After being run over by the Dodgers before the All-Star Break and soiled by the Rangers last night, the Royals need a win tonight to stay over .500.
Danny Duffy was overshadowed by Clayton Kershaw in his last start, though he did get a hit off the Dodgers’ ace. If Duffy comes to the plate tonight, something has gone terribly, terribly wrong. His teammates will face long-time Phillie and recent Ranger Cole Hamels, who is making his 4th start since returning from an April injury. The Rangers have won his last two starts and four of eight overall, including a 6-2 win over the Royals on April 21st that became the second loss of a traumatic 9-game streak (kicked off by a 1-0 Rangers win in 13 innings the night before). Yet a few months later, it’s the Rangers sniffing at the Royals’ rumps in the AL Wild Card standings. The Royals are only 6-7 in Duffy’s starts this year (including that 13-inning loss), a record that needs improvement to have any real chance at October. This is as good a time as any to step on the fingers of another team trying to claw their way back up from the pit of despair.
The cold front that brought storms to the KC area on Thursday didn’t immediately lower the humidity, but drier air has finally filtered in from the north to make today reasonably pleasant for mid-July. Tonight’s a great time to be at Kauffman Stadium, because next week’s series against the Tigers will likely bring the hottest weather of the year so far, with peak heat indices near and over 100°F every day. If you’re in the area, go out and enjoy Duffy Day in this compelling Battle for .500.
Tonight’s lineups (game time 6:15 Central):
Rangers: Choo (DH), Andrus (6), Beltre (5), Napoli (3), Mazara (9), Gomez (8), Odor (4), Lucroy (2), DeShields (7)
Royals: Merrifield (4,) Bonifacio (9), Cain (8), Hosmer (3), Perez (2), Moustakas (5), Escobar (6), Moss (DH), Gordon (7)