Duffy Burned by Hrs in Finale Loss to Dodgers

Duffy Burned by Hrs in Finale Loss to Dodgers

Daily Clips

July 10, 2017


Duffy burned by HRs in finale loss to Dodgers

July 10, 2017By Ken Gurnick and Joshua Thornton/MLB.com

Hosmer stays strong with 3 hits vs. Kershaw

Royals first baseman homers, enters break with .318 average

July 10, 2017By Jeffrey Flanagan/MLB.com

Moose ready for Derby

July 10, 2017By Joshua Thornton/MLB.com

Royals fall to Dodgers, close out first half with three straight losses

July 10, 2017By Rustin Dodd/KC Star

Royals’ Duffy singles off Kershaw, calls Dodgers ace ‘best pitcher of all time’

July 10, 2017By Rustin Dodd/KC Star

Royal representation: Club features at least three All-Stars for fifth straight year

July 10, 2017By Rustin Dodd/KC Star

If Clayton Kershaw’s on the mound, hit the first good pitch you see

July 10, 2017By Lee Judge/KC Star

Royals prospect Griffin plays role in U.S. win in All-Star Futures Game

July 10, 2017Kansas City Star

Oddsmakers don’t like Mike Moustakas’ chances in Home Run Derby

July 10, 2017By Pete Grathoff/KC Star


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Duffy burned by HRs in finale loss to Dodgers

July 10, 2017By Ken Gurnick and Joshua Thornton/MLB.com

Anchored by two of their six All-Stars, Clayton Kershaw and Justin Turner, the Dodgers swept the Royals for the first time in franchise history with a 5-2 win on Sunday at Dodger Stadium.

Turner, who won the National League Final Vote competition, racked up his first multi-home run game since July 21, belting a solo shot in the first and a two-run jack in the third to give the Dodgers a 4-0 lead.

"It doesn't matter who he's facing, he continues to put good at-bats up," Kershaw said. "I don't have a scouting report on him, but it seems he has no weakness to exploit as a pitcher. He does everything well, that's why he's going to Miami."

The Dodgers (61-29) enter the All-Star break with the best record in baseball and have won 26 of their last 30 games.

"How long is it a hot streak, or is it just us?" Kershaw asked rhetorically. "I guess we'll find out next half."

Kershaw went the distance for the first time this season, fanning 13, giving up six hits on 99 pitches in earning his Major League-leading 14th win. Kershaw became the first pitcher in Major League history to strike out at least 13 batters in a complete game throwing fewer than 100 pitches. The ace collected his 59th career double-digit strikeout game, and he hasn't lost an outing since May 6, going 10-0 over that span.

In his second start since straining an oblique muscle in May, Danny Duffy yielded five runs and six hits in seven innings for the Royals, getting two runs of support from Eric Hosmer's home run in the fourth. Hosmer was the most successful hitter against Kershaw, going 3-for-4, while extending his hitting streak to 15 games.

"We're in good shape," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "We battled back after a tough April. We got a long second half ahead of us, but we feel like we got the firepower to compete. Like I said, this would be a good four days for everybody to recharge their batteries a little bit and get back after it next weekend."


Twice as nice: The Dodgers were already up, 1-0, thanks to Turner's solo shot in the first, but the 32-year-old wasn't done. Turner lifted a 91.5 mph two-seam fastball from Duffy to center field to give the Dodgers a comfortable four-run lead. Statcast™ measured the launch angle at 35 degrees.

"It was hot out there [94 degrees at game time], I was just trying to bring some rain down," Turner said.

Hosmer's homer: Kershaw cruised through 3 1/3 innings before the Royals were able to put runs on the board. After Lorenzo Cain's single, Hosmer drove Kershaw's fastball to center, which barely cleared the wall, to cut into the Dodgers' lead. Hosmer, who finished 3-for-4, is now 5-for-8 lifetime against Kershaw.


"It's definitely not how we wanted to end the break. At the same time, [the Dodgers] are playing great baseball over there. If anything it was a bit of a wakeup call for us, to see how good they're playing, and we got to realize that we can't make key mistakes, and we got to capitalize on their mistakes when you're playing good teams like this." -- Hosmer, on the first half


The Dodgers ended the first half with the best record in baseball for the first time since 2009, when that club went 56-32. Their current .678 winning percentage is fourth-best in club history, behind the 1942 (52-21, .712), '52 (51-21, .708) and '55 (58-26, .690) squads.


Home-plate umpire KerwinDanley had to exit the game, shortly after taking Cody Bellinger's foul tip in the first inning off his facemask. Danley nearly fell to the ground, but Royals catcher Drew Butera was able to break Danley's fall. Danley stayed in the game to call the final out, but first-base umpire Adam Hamari took over behind the plate at the start of the second. Crew chief Bill Miller later said Danley exhibited symptoms of a concussion, and he was taken for an MRI.


Royals: After the All-Star break, the Royals will open a three-game series against the Rangers at 7:15 p.m. CT on Friday at Kauffman Stadium. Yost doesn't have his rotation set, but he hopes to get positive news on Nathan Karns, who will be evaluated after the break to see if he will need thoracic outlet surgery.

Dodgers: Coming out of the All-Star break, the Dodgers will open a three-game series at 4:10 p.m. PT on Friday at Marlins Park. Manager Dave Roberts announced that right-hander Brandon McCarthy, Alex Wood and Rich Hill would start the three games against the Marlins. Roberts had said before Sunday's game that Kershaw won't pitch in the series.

Hosmer stays strong with 3 hits vs. Kershaw

Royals first baseman homers, enters break with .318 average

July 10, 2017By Jeffrey Flanagan/MLB.com

Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer didn't let his foot off the pedal as the season wore down to the finale before the All-Star break.

Not even against Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw.

Hosmer went 3-for-4 Sunday against Kershaw, including a two-run home run, his 12th, in the Royals' 5-2 loss on Sunday.

"He's tough," Royals manager Ned Yost said of Kershaw. "We couldn't do much on him. I mean, [Hosmer) had an awesome day with three hits. He had a great day off him. He's good, he's tough. He's tough against right-handers, as tough as he is against left-handers."

Hosmer now is 5-for-8 lifetime against Kershaw.

"We faced him maybe a couple years back in Kansas City, not that he's changed arsenal or changed his game," Hosmer said. "But you know it's going to be a tough game and you know it's going to be a tough at-bat, and I think that's what makes him so good is that he holds guys on. He fields his position well, there's no real way you can kind of sneak some runs behind him."

Hosmer's home run in the fourth cut the Dodgers' lead to 4-2, and just barely cleared the wall in left-center.

"I was hoping it made it, that's why I was watching it the whole way," Hosmer said. "At first, I thought [center fielder Trayce Thompson] made a good catch out there. I already had one taken away from me this year, so not trying to see that again, so I was happy to see the ball roll around outside the fence.

"Stay on his pitches. The approach for me was to be ready to swing early, especially if he fell behind in the count. You don't know what pitch it can be, but you know it's going to be in the strike zone so you really gotta stay aggressive."

Hosmer finished the first half with a .318 average with 12 home runs and 42 RBIs.

"A lot to look forward to," Hosmer said. "I think overall, we like how we bounce things back, we still feel that, obviously, we could have played better in April. All in all, it was a decent first half for us, and we go out and watch Moose [Mike Moustakas] hit some homers, take a couple days off and try to get back in rolling the second half, and get to where we need to be.

"It's definitely a good feeling. We were playing the worst baseball we played and things didn't look good as a whole. And for us to put us in this situation now at the break, and pretty much everybody healthy, I think we like where we're at."

Moose ready for Derby

July 10, 2017By Joshua Thornton/MLB.com

After belting a career-high 25 homers before the All-Star break, Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas heads to Miami for tonight's T-Mobile Home Run Derby. Watch it live on ESPN at 7 p.m. CT.

Moustakas joins Marlins outfielder and 2016 winner Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees catcher Gary Sanchez and rookie outfielder Aaron Judge, Dodgers rookie Cody Bellinger, Twins third baseman Miguel Sano, Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon and Marlins first baseman Justin Bour in the competition.

Moustakas, who set a Royals record for most home runs before the break, is the No. 4 seed and will face No. 5 seed Sano, who has hit 21 long balls this season, in the first round. The winner will face either Stanton or Sanchez in the second round.

"It's going to be a lot of fun," Moustakas said. "You got Bellinger, you got Judge, you got Stanton, Sano. Everybody can hit some homers, so it'll be fun to watch, especially this year. It'll be cool."

Sano added: "I'm so happy for [Moustakas] because he was named an All-Star [winning the American League Final Vote], too. I'm really excited to compete against a person I know and have played against a lot. I need to go there and do the best I can."

Moustakas will be the third Royal to participate in the competition, joining Bo Jackson (1989) and Danny Tartabull ('91).

Royals fall to Dodgers, close out first half with three straight losses

July 10, 2017By Rustin Dodd/KC Star

The pitcher’s mound inside Dodger Stadium sits approximately 150 miles from Lompoc, Calif., the small-town hamlet in which Royals starter Danny Duffy spent his formative years. He grew up going to games here at Chavez Ravine. His father, Dan, called Sunday afternoon — his son’s first start in Los Angeles — a “bucket list” day.

Viewed through that lens, a 5-2 loss to the Los Angeles Dodgers felt like something of a disappointment. Duffy allowed three homers, including two to All-Star third baseman Justin Turner. Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw tossed a complete game, striking out 13. The Royals (44-43) concluded the first half of the season by being swept by the hottest team in baseball.

Yet, in the moments after the loss, as the team got set to commence a four-day All-Star break, Duffy emerged from the training room inside the visitors clubhouse and offered a slightly more complicated account. In his second start since returning from the disabled list, Duffy believed he had thrown the ball well. The numbers supported his stance: He struck out nine and walked zero, and yet his day had been ruined by one partial mistake, one full mistake and one moment of bad luck.

The first mistake, Duffy said, came in the first when he threw an outside change-up to Turner, who reached out and hit the ball over the center-field fence. The second came in the third, when Turner hammered a 0-1 fastball for a two-run homer.

“He’s right up on the dish, so a change-up six inches off the plate away is going to be middle-middle to him,” Duffy said. “I still felt like that first homer was like a pop-up. But it was carrying for both sides today. So there’s no excuses there.

“The second one he got.”

Turner, who is hitting .377 with 10 homers, is going to the All-Star Game with an assist from rabid Royals fans. Aligned with Royals third baseman Mike Moustakas in the Final Vote competition, the red-haired, bearded Turner rode a wave of support from fans in Los Angeles and Kansas City. On Sunday, he showed why he is worthy of the trip.

“A good pitch to most people is middle-middle to Turner,” Duffy said. “I feel like we made an adjustment, but it was just too late.”

The final mistake came on another change-up that found the barrel of Dodgers catcher Austin Barnes in the sixth. Duffy deemed it a decent pitch. Yet the result was another insurance run for Kershaw, who notched his 14th win and lowered his ERA to 2.18.

The Dodgers (61-29) rolled their winning streak to six games while winning for a preposterous 26th time in 30 games. The Royals, on the heels of a three-game sweep of Seattle, were caught in the gathering storm.

“They’re on fire, man,” Duffy said.

In the moments after the loss, the Royals sought to put the weekend in perspective. They had wasted opportunities to win on Friday and blown a late lead on Saturday. But they still finished the first half with a winning record after a miserable performance in April. When they open a series against the Texas Rangers on Friday at Kauffman Stadium, they will sit one solid weekend away from being in playoff position.

“We’re smart enough to know we caught a real hot team, a really, really good team,” Royals manager Ned Yost said. “And we’ll go take four days off and get ready to get back after it again.

“We’re in good shape. We battled back after a tough April. We feel like we’ve got the firepower to compete.”

The Royals finished the first half last in the American League in runs scored (362) and fifth in runs allowed (387). They weathered a nine-game losing streak in April, a 10-20 start and a month with Duffy on the disabled list. The rotation posted the seventh best ERA (4.33) in the league. The bullpen was a wreck early before stabilizing in May and June.

Moustakas has clubbed a career-high 25 homers and earned a spot in the Home Run Derby. And Eric Hosmer survived an April slump and batted .318 with a .374 on-base percentage and .492 slugging. The numbers included three hits, including a two-run homer, off Kershaw on Sunday.

There was good and bad, and hot and cold, and what Hosmer called an eye-opening experience across three days at Dodger Stadium.

“It was a bit of a wake-up call for us to see how good they’re playing,” Hosmer said. “And we got to realize that we can’t make key mistakes and we got to capitalize on their mistakes.”

In their final game of the first half, Yost fielded a lineup that was partly a function of the schedule — Sunday afternoon game — and partly a function of Kershaw’s presence on the mound.

Left-handed hitters Alex Gordon and Moustakas drew days off against the best left-handed pitcher in the game. Salvador Perez sat out after catching in particularly humid conditions on Saturday evening.

Perez and Moustakas were set to join starting pitcher Jason Vargas on a charter flight to Miami on Sunday evening in preparation for All-Star Game activities on Monday. Yost stressed that Perez was in need of a day off, a tactic to keep him fresh in the late summer months.

“He was gonna be worn to a frazzle if I played him today,” Yost said.

So the Royals closed out the first half without two All-Stars. The offense was limited to Hosmer and little else. Hosmer finished with a homer and two singles, improving to 5 for 8 in his career against Kershaw, a man whom Duffy called “arguably the greatest pitcher of all time.”

“The approach for me,” Hosmer said, “was to be ready to swing early.”

And that, perhaps, illustrates the herculean task of facing Kershaw. If you fall behind, catcher Drew Butera said, Kershaw possesses three strikeout pitches. If you swing early, you risk offering quick outs. On Sunday, Kershaw recorded 27 outs in 99 pitches. He didn’t have a three-ball count until the final hitter of the game.

In the end, the Royals simply had to swallow hard and move on. The second half of the season beckons. The real test begins now.

“We were playing the worst baseball we’ve played and Duffy went down,” Hosmer said. “So things as a whole just didn’t look too well for us. So to put us in this situation now at the break — pretty much everybody healthy — I think we like where we’re at.”