CLEVELAND (AP) Kansas City manager Ned Yost is looking for four starters he can count on. Right now, Danny Duffy isn't one of them.
The Royals sent the struggling left-hander to the bullpen on Thursday, a day after he didn't get out of the third inning in a loss to the Indians.
''We need four consistent starters in the postseason, and the other four were out-performing Danny,'' Yost said. ''We need to see if he can be productive out of the `pen, and we think he can.''
Duffy hasn't won since Aug. 25 and has gone six innings just once in his last six starts. Duffy lasted only 2 1-3 innings on Wednesday, giving up four runs. He is 7-8 with a 4.35 ERA in 24 starts.
Yost didn't hold back on his criticism of Duffy following his latest loss, and the left-hander understood why. Duffy's pitch counts have been getting too high early, and he is not commanding his pitches.
''He was unable to get us much past the fifth inning, and you can't afford that,'' Yost said. ''You've got to have guys who go out and get you deep into games and preserve your `pen as much as you can. The production wasn't there as a starter right now.''
The AL Central-leading Royals are going through their roughest patch this season. They've lost nine of 12 and haven't been playing the same crisp baseball as they were earlier this season.
Right-hander Jeremy Guthrie, moved out of the rotation in August, will take Duffy's spot but Yost likely will use a four-man rotation: Yordano Ventura, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez and Kris Medlen in the playoffs.