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Game XXX: Royals v. Cleveland

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It’s a beautiful day to not get swept

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Through three games, the Royals have held 3-1, 3-0, and 4-0 leads, the latter two being held heading into the 6th inning. They have 29 hits compared to Cleveland’s 23. They are 0-3 in those games.

Kansas City enters tonight’s matchup on a four-game losing streak, their first such streak of the season, and losers in six of their last eight games. They’ll send Danny Duffy to the mound looking to end that streak and avoid their first sweep of the season.

Duffy has been arguably the hottest pitcher in baseball thus far in 2021, having surrendered just two runs in 30 IP on two solo homers. His 1.0 fWAR has already eclipsed his mark of 0.6 and is closing in on his marks of 1.3 set in 2018 and 2019. He averaged 142 IP across those two seasons.

This is due, in large part, to a rejuvenated fastball. His average velocity is up to 93.9 MPH, the highest its been since 2016, a season he partially spent coming out of the bullpen. He is striking out 28% of the batters he faces, a career-high, as well as getting swings and misses on 13.9% of pitches, also a career high.

He will face Triston McKenzie, Cleveland’s young right-hander, who has struggled thus far in 2021. He has made it through the 5th inning just once and gave up five runs in just two innings of work last week.

Despite the four-game losing streak, the Royals are still tied for the division lead in a faltering division. With the White Sox still dealing with injuries and the Twins still struggling, a win against Cleveland would temporarily restore their division lead. Leading the division in May is pretty cool.

Here are your lineups for this today’s matinee: