Keys to series, game times as Kansas City Royals open road trip vs. New York Yankees

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The Kansas City Royals begin their three-city, 10-game road trip with their first series of the season against the New York Yankees.

The Royals (32-38) won two of three at home against the Boston Red Sox over the weekend to take their first series since the beginning of June.

The Yankees (38-33) won back-to-back games to win a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics over the weekend. They’ve won five of six.

The Royals had not announced a starting pitcher for Wednesday night’s game.

Veteran left-hander Danny Duffy has continued to inch closer to a return from the injured list. It’s not clear how built up he’d be, but he told The Star on Friday that he hoped his next outing would be in a game and that he was ready to pitch again in a competitive setting. Duffy hasn’t pitched since May 12.

Series rundown

SCHEDULE: Tuesday, 6:05 p.m. CT; Wednesday, 6:05 p.m. CT; Thursday, 12:05 p.m. CT

PLACE: Yankee Stadium

PITCHING PROBABLES: Tuesday: KC RHP Brady Singer (3-5, 4.76) vs. NYY RHP Gerrit Cole (8-3, 2.31); Wednesday: TBA vs. NYY RHP Michael King (0-3, 4.08); Thursday: KC RHP Brad Keller (6-7, 6.34) vs. NYY RHP Jameson Taillon (1-4, 5.59).

TV: All three games will be broadcast by Bally Sports Kansas City. Thursday’s game will also air on MLB Network outside of the Kansas City television market.

RADIO: All three games will air on KCSP Radio (610 AM).

NOTABLE: Yankees first baseman Luke Voit is a native of Wildwood, Missouri, and a former standout at Missouri State. He led the majors with 22 home runs in last year’s 60-game season. He’s currently on the injured list with a right oblique strain, but he began a rehab assignment last week and could return for this series.

Keys to the series

Royals shortstop Adalberto Mondesi went back on the injured list on Monday. His absence takes one of the club’s most dynamic offensive players out of a lineup that also lost left fielder Andrew Benintendi to the IL last week.

Nicky Lopez figures to get the bulk of the time at shortstop in Mondesi’s place. In 63 games since May 1, Lopez has batted .260 with a .350 on-base percentage with 27 strikeouts and 24 walks.

Lopez has been a solid contributor out of the No. 9 spot in the batting order with leadoff hitter Whit Merrifield batting behind him. The Lopez-Merrifield combination will have to serve as a table-setting tandem for the Royals offense to run efficiently.

Merrifield is on pace for a career-high 93 RBIs, which would break Johnny Damon’s franchise record for RBIs by a leadoff hitter. Damon had 88 RBIs in 2000.

Sunday, Merrifield became the second-fastest Royal behind Hall of Famer George Brett to 800 career hits. Merrifield did it in 676 games, while Brett did it in 668.

The key to the Yankees lineup has been minimizing the impact of sluggers Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton. Judge enters the series slashing .280/.376/.498 with a team-high 15 home runs, while Stanton has slashed .265/.343/.508 with 13 home runs.

Last year, infielder D.J. LeMahieu ranked among the top hitters in the majors. This season he has dropped off at the plate. He has batted .259 with a .333 OBP. Meanwhile catcher Gary Sanchez struggled last season, but he has been hot of late with a .315 batting average, five home runs and 12 RBIs in his past 15 games.

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