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Jun 3, 2024 2:57 pm

Royals’ Seth Lugo looks to continue road success in Cleveland

Seth Lugo

The Kansas City Royals have yet to lose a road game with Seth Lugo on the mound this season.

Then again, they haven’t played at Cleveland, where the Guardians rarely seem to taste defeat.

The Royals aim to go 7-0 in Lugo’s road starts Tuesday night, in the opener of a three-game set with the American League Central-leading Guardians, who are trying to avoid losing consecutive home contests for just the second time in 2024.

Entering play Monday, Lugo (9-1, 1.72 ERA) led the AL in ERA and was tied for the major league lead in wins. The right-hander has allowed just four runs over 42 innings while winning all six road starts this season. He yielded six hits and three walks, but just one run, in six innings of Kansas City’s 6-1 win at Minnesota from Wednesday.

“He knows how to pitch. He knows what he feels like. He knows who he feels like he can go after on certain nights,” Royals manager Matt Quatraro said of Lugo, who has already eclipsed his career high for wins in a season.

“(At Minnesota), he did get big outs with guys on base, but that’s what he’s done for us all year.”

Lugo has received an average run support of 5.79 during his 2024 road starts, and looks to help the Royals build on Sunday’s needed 4-3 home victory over San Diego — just their second triumph in eight games after winning eight straight.

However, Lugo will make his first career start at Cleveland, where the Guardians have averaged 7.8 runs while posting a 20-7 record this season.

Cleveland had won nine straight home games prior to Sunday’s 5-2 loss versus Washington. The only other time in 2024 that the Guardians dropped back-to-back home games came when being swept by the New York Yankees in an April 13 doubleheader.

The Guardians managed only Daniel Schneemann’s two-run double in his first career at-bat Sunday. It was just their fourth loss in their last 19 overall.

Cleveland star Jose Ramirez went 0-for-4 on Sunday, but is a career .276 hitter with 28 home runs and 92 RBIs in 152 games against the Royals.

The Guardians have won the last three starts by scheduled starter Triston McKenzie (2-3, 3.77 ERA). However, the right-hander has allowed seven runs on five homers over 10 innings of his last two starts combined. He yielded a pair of two-run shots in five innings during Cleveland’s 13-7 win at Colorado on May 28, but managed to limit further damage.

“Just trying to find consistency from Triston of bringing his best stuff every inning, every pitch,” Cleveland manager Stephen Vogt said.

“He battles. I think that’s the best thing about Triston.”

McKenzie last faced the Royals in 2022, but has traditionally been solid against them, going 4-2 with a 2.70 ERA in 11 appearances (nine starts).

Budding Kansas City star Bobby Witt Jr. is just 2-for-9 with a double versus McKenzie. However, he’s batting .362 with 19 RBIs and 15 runs scored in his last 16 overall games.

Meanwhile, teammate Salvador Perez is 3-for-18 with a home run against McKenzie, but 10-for-27 (.370) in his last seven games at Cleveland.

–Field Level Media

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