The Kansas City Royals might be heading to Baltimore with a four-game losing streak on their minds, but they've won every contest Danny Duffy has started since entering the rotation in the middle of May.
On Monday night, he's up against Mike Wright, whose recent return to the Baltimore Orioles came a day after being sent down and never throwing a pitch for Triple-A Norfolk.
The Royals (30-26) are coming off a four-game road sweep at the hands of Cleveland, which wrapped up with Sunday's 7-0 loss. In the last three games, they've been limited to two total runs and are batting .144. Kendrys Morales was 1 for 15 in the series, and Alcides Escobar was 2 for 16.
“It's one of those weekends,” manager Ned Yost said. “We're coming off an undefeated homestand where we pitched great. We just didn't play well here.”
Duffy (1-0, 3.44 ERA) has made four starts with a 3.86 ERA, and the latest earned him his first victory. The left-hander gave up three runs and seven hits in six innings of Wednesday's 6-3 home win over Tampa Bay, and he's gone deeper into each start than the one before.
He didn't walk anyone and threw 75 pitches as the Royals take a conservative approach.
“I felt like I had another inning in me,” Duffy told MLB's official website. “But I appreciate the fact that they are monitoring me closely. We built up this pitch count fast, so good to be careful.”
Duffy threw a scoreless inning of relief against the Orioles on April 24 and is 2-1 with a 2.25 ERA in four starts and two relief appearances against them. Adam Jones (1 for 13 with seven strikeouts), Manny Machado (0 for 8 with four strikeouts) and Chris Davis (1 for 8) have all struggled against him.
Wright (2-3, 5.88) was sent to the minors Thursday but recalled Friday when setup man Darren O'Day went on the disabled list, so he's starting on normal rest. The right-hander gave up six runs and seven hits with four home runs in 2 2/3 innings of Wednesday's 13-9 home win over Boston.
“I'm pitching in the best league in baseball right now and I'm leaving pitches up,” Wright said. “So that was the result.”
Wright's last three starts – all no-decisions – have totaled just 12 2/3 innings with a 7.82 ERA.
He started the game in which Duffy appeared in April, giving up five runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings of a 6-1 defeat. In two starts against the Royals, he's allowed nine runs in 11 1/3 innings with four home runs.
Lorenzo Cain is 2 for 6 with two home runs against Wright, while Eric Hosmer is 2 for 4 with a homer.
The Orioles (32-23) just took two of three at home against the New York Yankees and have won four of five. They've averaged 8.0 runs in that span while batting .294 despite managing just six hits in a 3-1 win in Sunday's series finale.
Matt Wieters had a pinch-hit two-run single and has seven RBIs in the last four games.