Given their recent success in Chicago, another road game against the White Sox would only seem to help the Kansas City Royals' chances of securing their longest win streak of the season.
The Royals, though, might not have one of their hottest hitters available.Alcides Escobar's status is unclear Saturday as Kansas City tries for a sixth consecutive victory.Kansas City (34-32) scored five runs in the first inning Friday en route to its eighth win in nine games at U.S. Cellular Field. With that 7-2 victory, the Royals matched a season-high five-game win streak, set April 15-19.Omar Infante had three and scored two runs for Kansas City, which is batting .309 and has plated 30 runs during its win streak.Escobar, though, was forced to leave in the eighth inning Friday because of a cramp in his left calf. The shortstop doubled earlier in the game to extend his hit streak to 11 contests. He is batting .432 (16 for 37) during his run."If he feels tightness tomorrow, we'll probably give him the day off," manager Ned Yost said.Having not been the beneficiary of much run support, Danny Duffy (3-5, 3.26 ERA) would love to have Escobar's hot bat in the lineup as he goes for his second win in three starts. The left-hander, who has received nine runs of support in seven starts, pitched 11 consecutive scoreless innings before giving up three runs in the sixth inning of last Saturday's 8-4 win over the New York Yankees.He also permitted five hits and three walks in his 5 2/3 innings and would have been in line for the victory had he recorded the third out. Duffy had a 9.00 ERA in losing his final two May starts, then gave up one hit and one walk in six innings in a 6-0 win in St. Louis on June 2."It takes time to develop a track record and get consistent," Yost told the team's website. "He's put together some good starts."The Royals seek their first six-game win streak since a nine-game run July 23-Aug. 1, their longest in 2013. That streak was capped by six consecutive road victories.Kansas City tries for a fourth straight road victory against Hector Noesi, who is looking for a career-high third straight win. The right-hander started his streak by giving up one run in six innings in a 4-1 victory at the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 3, but wasn't as dominant Monday against visiting Detroit.Noesi (2-4, 5.40) allowed four runs -- via a trio of homers -- and seven hits in his 5 2/3 innings in a 6-5 victory."He's giving us a chance to win. He's been great. The changeup for him has really been a factor that has got him to this point. He's getting a better feel for it," manager Robin Ventura said of Noesi, who was claimed off waivers from Texas on April 25.Noesi threw three scoreless innings of relief in his only appearance against the Royals three years ago.
Danny Duffy has allowed a .190 batting average against his fastball this season, which is fourth lowest among pitchers with at least five starts. Alejandro De Aza has a .181 batting average in at-bats ending with a fastball this season, which is second lowest among qualified hitters. Duffy has thrown his fastball 72.6 percent of the time this year, which is ninth most among starters with at least five starts.