Royals back home for first of four games against Tigers

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – The Kansas City Royals return home Thursday to face the Detroit Tigers after a three-game series in Boston.

The Royals lost two of three at Fenway Park to fall to 8-22. Kansas City left-hander Danny Duffy gave up three home runs to Mookie Betts, plus one more to J.D. Martinez, in the 5-4 loss Wednesday. Although Duffy was the team’s Opening Day starter for the second straight year, he is 0-4 with a 5.63 ERA in seven starts and has yielded 10 hits in two of his last three starts. The Royals are 0-7 in his starts.

Kansas City will turn to left-hander Eric Skoglund for the matinee opener of a four-game series against the Tigers.

Skoglund, who will be making his fifth start of the season, is coming off his best outing of the year. In a Saturday victory over the Chicago White Sox in the second game of a doubleheader, Skoglund allowed one run on two hits and a walk in a career-high seven innings. He also struck out a career-best nine.

It was Skoglund’s second major league victory. His first was against the Tigers on May 30, 2017, when he tossed 6 1/3 innings to pick up a 1-0 victory over Justin Verlander in his major league debut.

Skoglund started a game against Detroit earlier this season, allowing four hits and four runs in five innings without getting a decision in the Royals’ 8-5 victory April 22.

Those are his only two career appearances against Detroit.

Skoglund is 1-2 with a 6.23 ERA this season, permitting 15 earned runs in 21 2/3 innings.

Left-handed hitters have had a tough time with Skoglund — a .167 batting average with one extra-base hit in 12 at-bats. Right-handers are batting .257 (18-for-70) with seven extra-base hits.

Skoglund is 2-2 with a 4.88 ERA in six career appearances, five of them starts, at Kauffman Stadium.

The Tigers will counter with right-hander Mike Fiers, who is 2-2 with a 3.91 ERA in four starts. He has allowed 25 hits, including four home runs, with four walks and 15 strikeouts.

In his last turn, Fiers turned in his second quality start of the year Friday at Baltimore but took the loss. He gave up three runs on four hits and one walk and five strikeouts over six innings in a 6-0 defeat.

Fiers will be facing the Royals for the seventh time in his career. He is 2-3 with a 4.55 ERA against the Royals. Fiers has struck out 13 while allowing 16 earned runs over 31 2/3 innings.

He started April 21 against the Royals in Detroit and picked up the win, allowing four runs (two unearned) on 10 hits with a walk and no strikeouts in 5 1/3 innings in a 10-4 victory.

In three career starts at Kauffman Stadium, Fiers is 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA, giving up 10 earned runs over 14 1/3 innings.

Royals outfielder Abraham Almonte is 4-for-5 with a home run off Fiers. First baseman Lucas Duda is 5-for-10, shortstop Alcides Escobar is 7-for-16 and third baseman Mike Moustakas is 5-for-11 against Fiers.

Although Kansas City outfielder Jorge Soler has been on a tear lately, including two doubles in the loss Wednesday and a three-run home run in the 13-inning victory Tuesday to raise his OPS to .953, he is only 1-for-9 off Fiers. The one hit was a home run, though.

Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera has missed the past three games with biceps spasms. He was the only Detroit position player who did not get in the game Wednesday — a 3-2, 12-inning victory over the Tampa Bay Rays.

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