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Gamethread XV: Twins at Royals

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The Royals have won back-to-back games. Can they start a real winning streak?

Kansas City Royals v Chicago Cubs
Danny Duffy will take the mound for the Royals
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

This season is bizarre. You already knew that. However, we are a quarter of the way through the season and the Royals are simultaneously tied as the worst team in the American League and only three games back of a playoff spot. Their seven-game losing streak, though it seemed like it would never end and though it was the equivalent of a 21 game losing streak in a normal season, has not removed them from competition. And the team, for all of its inconsistencies, seems to be in great shape to improve as the season continues.

They now have five starters in the rotation worthy of the role, and enough quality bullpen arms to finish off any game the starters keep close; not having to use the weaker relievers in close games - or as pretend starters - should help the team a lot. The lineup is looking better with Adalberto Mondesi lower in the order plus Hunter Dozier could return any day now and figures to make a huge impact in the middle of the order both for his own talent and for the resulting shifting of lesser-talented players down in the order and onto the bench.

Speaking of five starters, who the heck anticipated Danny Duffy’s rejuvenation? It’s a small sample size, to be sure, but despite the 0-2 record, this is the same quality of pitching that earned Danny the contract extension back in 2017. He’s striking guys out, he’s not walking as many, and most importantly he’s not giving up dingers constantly. He looks like a completely different guy on the mound and his FIP is as low as it’s been since 2013.

Duffy has also pitched well against the Twins in his career. He has a 3.13 ERA against them in 23 games, including 19 starts. That said, he last faced them almost exactly a year ago on August 3, 2019, when he gave up nine runs in only 4.2 innings, the second-worst start of his career.

Old friend Jake Odorizzi will get the start for the Twins. He had the best season of his career last year but is making his first appearance of 2020, tonight. Odorizzi has never fared well against the Royals with a 4.88 ERA in 11 games, 10 of which were starts. His last outing against the Royals was in June of last year when he allowed four runs in four innings on 8 hits to the boys in blue. Since he’s building up his stamina it’s being reported that he will only through 70-75 pitches which will give the Royals plenty of opportunities to find a weak link in their bullpen chain for tonight.

Lineups