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Game LXXXVII: Royals at Cleveland

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It’s Duff Day

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Boston Red Sox David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

What is there to say about this team that hasn’t already been said? They are 36-50 with an Pythagorean W-L of 34-52, and have gotten dangerously close to 20 games under .500 before the break for a team that was 16-9 in May.

Their only saving grace is that they are just a game under .500 at home. Consequently, they are 15-28 on the road as they open up tonight’s series against Cleveland, the 2nd best team in the AL Central at 42-42.

With four games left before the break, a lot of things can certainly change, but Kansas City is currently pacing to have a first-half that is either worse or even with the first halves from 2007-2012, Dayton Moore’s first six seasons. A bad weekend could make it one of the worst first halves since he took over.

The Royals will face Cleveland, a team that is somehow playing worse baseball, riding a nine-game losing streak into this series. On June 28, Cleveland beat Detroit and sat just two games back of the first-place White Sox. Chicago responded by winning five straight, while Cleveland began its nine-game slide.

As it currently stands, Cleveland is eight games back of Chicago. They’ll send Zach Pleasac to the mound. He is making his first appearance since he fractured his thumb while “rather aggressively ripping off his shirt” on May 23, to quote Cleveland manager Terry Francona.

The Royals send Danny Duffy to the mound, who has been uneven since returning from the IL and is still getting back up to speed. He has made three starts, going just 9.1 innings in those starts. Duffy still leads all Royals pitchers in fWAR despite missing more than a month, and given the desperate state of their rotation, Kansas City needs Duffy to find that next gear soon.

Here are your lineups for tonight’s AL Central matchup.