Danny Duffy will try to become the third straight Royals starter to record a career high in strikeouts as he takes the mound for Kansas City against the Chicago White Sox in the third game of a four-game series Wednesday night.
For Duffy to join his mates in the run, he'd have to better his own club record of 16 strikeouts, a mark he set in 2016.
Duffy (3-5, 4.64 ERA) will be starting against the White Sox for the first time this season. He went 2-1 with a 3.57 ERA in four starts against Chicago last year.
In his career, Duffy is 9-6 with a 4.09 ERA over 24 games (22 starts) against Chicago, over which the Royals are 15-9.
Duffy got the start in Kansas City's first game after the All-Star break, but it didn't go well. Holding onto a 2-1 lead, he was hit in the left hand by a liner off the bat of Victor Reyes in the top of the third inning, though the exit velocity was just 71 mph, according to Statcast.
Duffy stayed in the game, but he proceeded to give up a wild pitch, a walk, an RBI single and an RBI double before leaving. He wound up charged with four runs on six hits in two-plus innings.
"My hand just went numb," Duffy said after the game. "I tried to grip my changeup and my slider in the back of my palm. Couldn't do it. But I'll get it back."
Duffy will square off Wednesday against Chicago's Ivan Nova (4-8, 5.60 ERA). The right-hander is 0-0 with a 4.35 ERA in two starts against the Royals this season, and he's 2-1 with a 5.17 ERA in six starts vs. Kansas City in his career.
Nova has lost three of his past four starts, but he has pitched at least five innings in 10 straight starts. He has lasted at least five innings in all but three of his 19 starts.
Nova won his final outing before the All-Star break, ending a personal seven-game winless stretch. He blanked the Chicago Cubs for 5 2/3 innings on July 7, generating hope that he could duplicate a strong second half last year. In 2018, he went 4-3 with a 3.86 ERA in 11 starts with Pittsburgh after the All-Star break, compared to 5-6, 4.38 beforehand.
There's plenty of time for Nova to have a strong second half. In fact, he already may have begun his turnaround. Since posting a 7.42 ERA in his first nine starts, he has compiled a 4.14 ERA in his past 10 appearances.
"The first two months really killed me," he said. "But I'm pitching better."
In his most recent outing, Nova gave up four runs on 10 hits over six innings in a 5-1 loss at Oakland on Friday.
"He kept us in the ballgame," Chicago manager Rick Renteria said. "He gave us a chance."
Both the White Sox and Royals sustained potentially key injuries Tuesday.
White Sox left fielder Eloy Jimenez crashed into center fielder Charlie Tilson on the first play of the game, and he came out due to right elbow soreness. After the game, the team announced that Jimenez was headed back to Chicago for an MRI exam.
Then Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi exited in the fifth inning after injuring his left shoulder while diving for a foul ball. He also will undergo an MRI on Wednesday to determine the damage.
With the Tuesday victory, the Royals clinched their first winning homestand of the season, as they are 4-1 with two games left.
--Field Level Media