Royals look to break five-game skid in finale with Red Sox

RED SOX (32-29) AT ROYALS (19-42)
1:15 p.m. ET; FSKC, NESN, MLB.TV

No team in the American League has been worse at holding onto a lead in 2019 than the Kansas City Royals. On Wednesday night, Boston starter Chris Sale went the distance to make sure the Royals never even had the lead.

On Thursday afternoon, the Royals will conclude their three-game home series, hoping Danny Duffy can pitch like Sale … and the Royals can finish a game with the lead for the first time in nearly a week.

While the Royals have held a lead in 42 of their 61 games, they have lost an AL-worst 23 of those leads. On Tuesday night, they saw Sale pitch his first complete game shutout in more than three years in an 8-0 Red Sox victory.

“Any time you can finish a game, that’s what you sign up for,” Sale told reporters after the game. “I’ve never started a game I didn’t intend to finish.”

The Red Sox have won six straight and seven of their last eight against the Royals. The Royals have lost five straight and eight of their last nine.

The Royals will rely on the left-handed Duffy (3-2, 4.05 ERA) to break the losing streak. Duffy had his worst start in his last outing in Arlington, Texas, last Friday. He cruised through five scoreless innings before allowing six runs in one-third of an inning. He allowed six of seven batters to reach and left the game after allowing a grand slam to Joey Gallo.

The six earned runs equaled the total number of earned runs allowed in his previous three starts.

“This game will rip your heart out sometimes, but I’ve got to turn the page after tonight and go back out there and try to be better next time,” Duffy said after that game. “I mean, there’s really nothing else we can do. If you want to beat yourself up over it, it is what it is. I felt like I let my team down tonight, but I’ve got a (short) memory.

“I left the ball out over to Gallo, and he hit a big-boy homer.”

The Red Sox have not confirmed a starter for Thursday’s matinee, but it looks like it will be Ryan Weber (1-1, 4.50). Weber has five appearances, with his last two appearances coming as a starter. His longest outing was six innings against Toronto on May 23, which he followed with four innings against Cleveland on May 29.

While Weber should be the first to toe the slab, Red Sox manager Alex Cora already has a plan for his replacement. Rookie Mike Shawaryn likely will make his debut as a long reliever behind Weber.

“Most likely, a combination of (Weber) and Shawaryn,” Cora told reporters of his Thursday plan prior to Wednesday’s game. “I don’t want to say an opener thing. We trust these guys, but most likely (they both) are going to be part of it. We’ll map it out.”

–Field Level Media

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