|3:10 PM PT4:10 PM MT5:10 PM CT6:10 PM ET18:10 ET22:10 GMT6:10 3:10 PM MST5:10 PM EST5:40 PM VEN2:10 UAE (+1)5:10 PM CT, September 7, 2019
Marlins Park, Miami, Florida Attendance: 13,112
Royals' Duffy, Marlins' Smith try to end skids
Kansas City Royals left-hander Danny Duffy hasn't won a game since July 28, a stretch that includes a month-long stay on the injured list.
Miami Marlins left-hander Caleb Smith hasn't won a game since Aug. 15, losing three straight decisions since then.
Duffy and Smith will have an opportunity to end their skids on Saturday night when the Royals visit the Marlins in the second of a three-game series. Kansas City shut out Miami 3-0 on Friday.
Duffy (5-6, 4.89 ERA) had been sidelined since Aug. 4 due to a hamstring injury, but he returned last Sunday, pitching effectively as the Royals beat the Baltimore Orioles 6-4.
"My command was off early," said Duffy, who allowed seven hits, one walk and four runs (three earned) in 6 1/3 innings. "But then I was able to repeat my delivery, and I threw the ball really well."
This will be Duffy's first time facing the Marlins.
Smith (8-9, 4.30 ERA), who has never faced the Royals, has not been a good pitcher in the second half of seasons.
In 29 first-half appearances in his career, Smith has a 3.86 ERA. But in 19 second-half games, his ERA jumps to 5.93. Smith hopes to start to reverse that trend on Saturday, but he is 0-3 in his three most recent starts, allowing 16 earned runs in 16 innings.
Then again, Smith will need some run support to win on Saturday, and the Marlins have been blanked 21 times this year. The last major league team to be shut out 21 times in a season was the 2008 Washington Nationals.
The Marlins -- who have nobody on their roster who has hit more than 20 homers this year -- nearly scored on Friday, but catcher Bryan Holaday was thrown out at the plate on a fifth-inning relay throw by Royals second baseman White Merrifield.
The Marlins had their own defensive gem in the sixth inning as Lewis Brinson, making his first major league start as a right fielder, threw out Merrifield at third on a throw that got there on the fly.
It will be interesting to see if Brinson -- who is primarily a center fielder -- will continue to play on a corner as the Marlins experiment in the waning days of their season.
"(Brinson) looked good out there (in right)," Marlins manager Don Mattingly said.
Two more players to watch in Saturday's game are Royals sluggers Jorge Soler and Hunter Dozier. Soler has a club-record 40 homers to go with 101 RBIs. Dozier hit his 25th homer on Friday and has 78 RBIs.
Soler, 27, is just the fourth Cuban-born hitter to slug 40 homers in a season, joining Tony Perez, Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco.
The Royals acquired Soler from the Chicago Cubs on Dec. 7, 2016, in exchange for star reliever Wade Davis. The trade looked like a Royal mistake for a long while as injuries kept Soler to a total of just 96 games the past two years.
But Soler has remained healthy this year, hitting 27 doubles and producing an .880 OPS. Better yet, he has a 1.041 OPS in the second half of this season, and his hottest month this year so far was August (10 homers, 24 RBIs).
"In the first half of the season, I was striking out too much," Soler told the Kansas City Star. "When I got to two strikes, I was an easy out. At the All-Star break, I decided to walk more and be more disciplined. That's what I've done."
--Field Level Media
Updated September 7, 2019