Duffy will try to build off best start of season as Royals face Astros
The lone exception is left-hander Dallas Keuchel, the 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner. Keuchel, who pitches Saturday against the Kansas City Royals, is 3-8 with a 3.71 ERA in 14 starts this season.
Keuchel has allowed 90 hits, including a dozen home runs, and walked 32 while striking out 81 in 82.1 innings. He has a 3-1 career record against the Royals in six starts. He had a no-decision against them last year, allowing two hits and one run in seven innings.
If Keuchel is the weak link in the Astros’ rotation, that is a fearsome five.
“The Gerrit Cole addition was great and Verlander was a great addition to them last year,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “The thing that is so important is they make these deals in hopes they can get them over the hump with a World Series, and it did.
“They’ve got a fantastic rotation. They’ve got a fantastic group of young talented, athletic players. They’re a good team. They’re a tough match.”
The Astros (46-25) reminded the Royals just how good they are with a 7-3 victory on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series at Kauffman Stadium. Evan Gattis, who drove in five Houston runs on Tuesday and Wednesday in Oakland, hit a sixth-inning grand slam.
The Royals (22-47) took a hit besides in the loss column when starting right fielder Jorge Soler left with a fractured first left metatarsal in the sixth inning. He stumbled out of the blocks while grounding out. It is the same foot Soler fouled a ball off last Friday in Oakland and then did not play again until Tuesday.
Yost said he did not know if the injuries are related. He said Soler would be out for an extended period. The Royals will make a roster move Saturday with Soler, who was on crutches in the clubhouse after the loss, headed for the disabled list.
Both clubs made roster moves Friday. Astros left-hander Reymin Guduan was placed on the paternity list. They recalled infielder Tyler White from Triple-A Fresno, where he was hitting .338 with a 1.023 OPS in 62 games.
The Royals purchased the contract of right-handed reliever Brandon Maurer from Triple-A Omaha. In his past seven outings, he ran off a scoreless streak of 12.2 innings while striking out 10 and holding opponents to a .163 batting average with one extra-base hit.
The Royals optioned rookie right-hander Jason Adam to Omaha. Adam had allowed six home runs, including a grand slam Wednesday, in 15.1 innings.
Left-hander Danny Duffy, who is 3-6 with a 3.28 ERA in 14 starts, is the Royals’ probable starter Saturday. He is coming off his best start of the season, tossing 7.0 scoreless innings last Saturday in Oakland, allowing three hits and striking out a career-high 10.
Duffy is 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in eight outings, four of them starts, against the Astros. He owns a 2.08 ERA in his last two starts against the Astros.
The Royals will attempt to snap a four-game losing streak. They have dropped 10 of their last 11 and are 10-24 at home. They’ve scored just 26 runs in 13 games in June, when they are hitting .183.
The Astros have the best road record (27-11) in the majors. They have won their last eight road games, three shy of the club record set last year. They have logged at least a dozen hits in five straight games, the second longest streak in franchise history and trailing only a seven-game streak set in 2007.