Enjoying a career year, Royals RHP Seth Lugo faces Rockies

Seth Lugo will make another audition to be the American League’s starting pitcher in the All-Star Game when the Kansas City Royals visit the Colorado Rockies on Saturday in Denver.

Lugo (11-2, 2.17 ERA) is tied for the major league lead in victories and leads baseball in ERA. The right-hander has a 1.03 WHIP and has struck out 105 in 116 innings.

There is no shortage of Kansas City players and coaches eager to lobby for the 34-year-old Lugo, who is in his first season with the Royals.

“It’s unbelievable what he is doing and (he’s) just dominating,” Royals shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. told reporters. “The work he puts in both on and off the field. I’ve been calling him the surgeon for a reason. He’s just dissecting hitters up there.”

Lugo has allowed two or fewer earned runs in 15 of his 18 starts and has walked two or fewer 16 times.

In his past four starts, Lugo is 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA and 30 strikeouts in 24 2/3 innings.

The sudden chatter about being the All-Star starter on July 16 in Arlington, Texas, is pleasing to Lugo’s ears.

“That would be awesome,” Lugo said. “Something I didn’t ever dream of, so it would be a really cool surprise.”

Lugo already has broken his career high for victories, which came last season when he went 8-7 with a 3.57 ERA in 26 starts for the San Diego Padres.

He became a free agent following the season and signed a three-year, $45 million deal with the Royals.

What has ensued is a run of good outings. In his most recent effort last Sunday, Lugo struck 10 for his third double-digit output of the season. He also allowed just four hits and one walk in six innings while beating the Cleveland Guardians.

Lugo is 3-0 with a 2.68 ERA in 12 appearances (five starts) against the Rockies. He is 1-0 with a 3.21 ERA in four appearances (two starts) at Coors Field.

Ryan McMahon is 5-for-12 with two homers off Lugo.

Lugo will be trying to get the Royals a victory after they lost the series opener 4-2 on Friday night.

Colorado’s Brenton Doyle lined a two-run double to right in the eighth inning to score the tiebreaking runs.

Doyle went 3-for-4 to continue a four-game hot stretch in which he is 10-for-15 with three homers, four doubles and seven RBIs.

“When you’re producing and putting good swings on baseballs and barrelling balls up, this game can be a lot more fun,” Doyle told reporters.

The hot streak has seen Doyle raise his batting average to .274.

Last season as a rookie, Double batted just .203 and struck out a whopping 151 times in 399 at-bats.

Colorado manager Bud Black said Doyle worked on his swing nonstop during the offseason.

“I love to see players rewarded for hard work,” Black said. “This was an offseason with work ethic and commitment to changing some things in his swing. They have materialized into success. I love that.”

Michael Toglia hit his 10th homer of the season for the Rockies.

Colorado will send left-hander Austin Gomber (1-5, 4.72) to the mound on Saturday.

Gomber, 30, has served up 15 homers and has pitched five or fewer innings in six of 16 starts.

Since putting together a four-start stretch in May in which he went 1-0 with a 0.68 ERA, Gomber is winless over his following six outings. He is 0-3 with an 8.69 ERA during the span.

On Monday, he received a no-decision against the Milwaukee Brewers when he gave up four runs and nine hits over six innings.

Gomber is 2-0 with a 2.11 ERA in five career appearances (four starts) against Kansas City. Infielder Adam Frazier is 4-for-7 against Gomber.

The Royals activated Frazier (thumb) prior to Friday’s game. He didn’t appear in the contest.

–Field Level Media