Royals try to rebound after tough loss

Royals try to rebound after tough loss

Following a difficult and disappointing first half of the season, the Royals have made the second half of the season even more agonizing thus far by squandering 4-0 leads in three of their last five games.

In the midst of a seven-game road trip, the Kansas City bullpen has been unreliable, which will make the performance of Tuesday's starter, Brandon Duckworth, that much more important.

It's been bad for the bullpen, especially," Royals reliever Joel Peralta said. "Nothing really we can do about it. Maybe [Tuesday] we [will] win. That's it. It's another day."

Making Duckworth's task even more difficult will be going up against the Red Sox's unbeaten rookie, Jon Lester, who will make the start on Tuesday night.

This will be Duckworth's first start against the Red Sox. In his last outing, Duckworth allowed six runs (three earned) and six hits over 4 2/3 innings against Detroit. He is 0-2 with a 4.79 ERA on the road this season.

He has not lasted more than six innings in any of his outings this year and has had difficulty with his command, striking out 20 batters while walking 14.

The Red Sox lead the series, 1-0.

Pitching matchup
KC: RHP Brandon Duckworth (1-2, 5.40 ERA)
In his last outing, Duckworth didn't help himself much with his inability to locate home plate. He made 103 pitches in a loss to the Tigers, and just 59 were strikes. In his career, Duckworth has never faced the Red Sox, a team with as much offensive firepower as any in the game. So to shut them down, he will need to keep out of hitter's counts.

BOS: LHP Jon Lester (4-0, 2.89 ERA)
Lester remains unbeaten in six starts, but has run up high pitch counts in early innings and has been helped by stellar defensive efforts. In his last outing against Oakland, he allowed one run and five hits, but walked five batters as well. With an ailing rotation, Boston needs continued success from the rookie.

Player to watch
Despite an 0-for-5 performance on Monday night, second baseman Mark Grudzielanek is batting .375 (9-for-24) in his last six games.

On the Internet
 Gameday Audio
•  Gameday
•  Official game notes

On television

On radio
• WHB AM 810

Up next
• Wednesday: Royals (LHP Mark Redman, 6-4, 5.38) at Red Sox (RHP Josh Beckett 11-5, 5.12), 12:05 p.m. CT
• Thursday: Royals (LHP Jimmy Gobble 3-3, 4.58) vs. Angels (RHP Ervin Santana, 11-3, 3.88), 7:10 p.m. CT
• Friday: Royals (RHP Scott Elarton 4-9, 5.34) vs. Angels (RHP Bartolo Colon, 1-4, 4.56), 7:10 p.m. CT

Howard Kussoy is an associate reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.