Kansas City Royals

Royals-Nationals series preview, probable pitchers: KC visits the nation’s capital

Matchup: The Royals (29-59) begin a three-game series against the Washington Nationals (45-41) on Friday night at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. First pitch on Friday is 6:05 p.m. CDT. Saturday’s game is scheduled for 3:05 p.m. CDT. Sunday’s afternoon’s game is scheduled for a 12:35 p.m. CDT start.

TV/Radio: Fox Sports Kansas City will televise all three games, and KCSP (610 AM) have the radio broadcasts.

Probable rotations: Kansas City: Brad Keller (rh, 4-9, 4.63), Glenn Sparkman (rh, 2-4, 5.09), Jakob Junis (rh, 4-8, 5.53); Nationals: Austin Voth (rh, 0-0, 4.35), Max Scherzer (rh, 8-5, 2.43), Patrick Corbin (lh, 7-5, 3.55).

Royals notes: The Royals were swept in their three-game homestand against the Cleveland Indians after an 8-4 loss on Thursday. They’ve now lost 9 of 12. Whit Merrifield, who has been selected to his first All-Star Game, has 114 hits this season, which ties him for the fourth-most by a Royals player before the All-Star break behind George Brett (123 in 1979 and 122 in 1976) and Mike Sweeney (122 in 2000). … Since joining the major-league club, infielder Cheslor Cuthbert has posted a slash line of .296/.325/.452 with four home runs and 16 RBIs in 29 games. He snapped a 1-for-11 slump with two hits on Thursday. … Royals reliever Ian Kennedy has converted nine consecutive save chances, and he now has 11 saves this season. He went 8-for-8 on save chances in June to tie Sean Doolittle (8-for-9), Brad Hand (8-for-9) and Will Smith (8-for-8) for most saves in MLB in June.

Nationals notes: The Nationals enter the weekend series having won 8 of 10, including a 5-2 win over the Miami Marlins on Thursday. Catcher Kurt Suzuki hit his 10th home run of the season. He’s now hit five home runs in his past 15 games. The Nationals came into Thursday with the best record in the majors since May 24 (25-10). … Third baseman Anthony Rendon earned his first All-Star selection. He’s batting .310 with a .395 on-base percentage and a .627 slugging percentage and 20 home runs through 72 games. … Saturday’s scheduled starter Max Scherzer, recently selected to his seventh All-Star Game, has allowed just six earned runs and six walks in his past seven starts. He has struck out 74 batters and gone 6-0 in that same span. Scherzer leads the majors in strikeouts (170) and ranks second in innings pitchers (122 1/3 innings). He’s posted a 1.00 WHIP this season.

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Lynn Worthy covers the Kansas City Royals and Major League Baseball for The Star. A native of the Northeast, he’s covered high school, collegiate and professional sports for The Lowell Sun, Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Allentown Morning Call and The Salt Lake Tribune. He’s won awards for sports features and sports columns.