Blue Jays-Royals Preview


The Toronto Blue Jays have been consistently inconsistent through their first 14 contests this season, alternating between two consecutive wins and two losses in a row.

Another matchup with the struggling Kansas City Royals might help them finally break that pattern.

While the Blue Jays will seek a season-high third straight win Sunday, the Royals will attempt to avoid both the longest home losing streak in their history and their longest skid in four seasons.

Toronto (8-6) has had plenty of difficulty getting into a groove, but a visit to Kansas City could provide the cure. After a one-run victory in Friday's series opener, the Blue Jays pulled away for a decisive 9-5 win Saturday with help from Colby Rasmus.

The center fielder hit a pair of homers for the third time in his career and drove in four runs. Edwin Encarnacion also homered and finished with three hits and three RBIs.

"(Rasmus) has been in a good place for quite a while," manager John Farrell told the Blue Jays' official website. "We're seeing the average ... and the overall production continue to climb. I think he feels comfortable."

The Blue Jays had a season-high 14 hits Friday, and matched their season high in runs while sending the Royals (3-11) to a ninth consecutive defeat. Kansas City also dropped to 0-8 at Kauffman Stadium, adding to the worst home start in franchise history, and suffered its ninth straight loss there overall to tie a club record.

"Just keep pluggin'," manager Ned Yost told the team's official website. "They're good enough to find a way to break out of it, and when they do they're going to score a bunch of runs and this streak will be way in the rear-view mirror."

Kansas City hasn't dropped 10 in a row overall since July 10-24, 2009. Danny Duffy (1-1, 2.13 ERA) will try to help prevent that dubious feat with another solid outing.

The left-hander was outdueled by reigning AL MVP Justin Verlander during a 3-2 loss to Detroit on Monday - giving up all three runs on a pair of homers - after allowing one hit over six innings of a 3-0 win in Oakland on April 10.

Duffy was tagged for five runs and eight hits over four innings in his only matchup with Toronto, a 9-8 home loss last June 8.

His counterpart for Sunday's game, fellow southpaw Ricky Romero (2-0, 3.72), has been steady against the Royals, allowing three runs in each of his three matchups. He threw eight innings in his only visit to Kansas City last June 9 but was on the wrong end of a 3-2 defeat.

Romero is seeking his third win in as many starts after he got plenty of help in a 7-3 victory over Tampa Bay on Tuesday. He gave up three runs and scattered eight hits over six innings.

Romero is 1-1 with a 3.86 ERA in three total starts against Kansas City.