A resurgent Danny Duffy will take the ball in the Royals’ first game after the all-star break.
The Royals open the second half of the season Friday with a three-game series against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium.
After throwing seven shutout innings in the Royals’ 5-0 victory Saturday in Chicago, Duffy has a 2.73 earned run average covering his past 10 starts, which he attributed to re-introducing his curveball into his arsenal.
Right-hander Jakob Junis will come off the disabled list to pitch Saturday, and Brad Keller will close out the series next Sunday.
The Royals plan to keep Burch Smith and Heath Fillmyer in the rotation until Ian Kennedy returns from injury. Kennedy is on the disabled list with a left oblique strain, though Royals manager Ned Yost said this weekend that the injury is not serious. Kennedy can resume baseball activities — playing catch and throwing bullpens — early next week.
Junis has been on the disabled list since July 8 with lower-back inflammation. He was eligible to return to his spot in the rotation Sunday, but the Royals elected to give him an extra week.
“I don’t want to have to rush him,” Yost said. “I want him to get settled and make sure everything’s good with him.”
Junis posted a 3.62 ERA in his first 12 starts, but he’s been hit hard over his past five, allowing 28 runs and 12 homers in 27 innings. All five resulted in losses.
“Just command more than anything else,” Yost said of the difference between the two streaks. “Making a lot of mistakes up in the zone that the opposition took advantage of. When he was really, really good, he was commanding his slider. Mechanically, he gets around it at times, which spins it. If he stays on top of it, it’s a swing-and-miss slider. So just consistency and command.”