Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 6/25/12

The Kansas City Royals' rotation at best was run of the mill, but sans right-hander Felipe Paulino and left-hander Danny Duffy, it is worse.

Paulino, who was 3-1 with a 1.67 ERA in seven starts, has a torn ligament in his pitching elbow and is apparently bound for Tommy John surgery. Duffy had Tommy John surgery in June.

The rotation now looks like this: left-handers Bruce Chen and Jonathan Sanchez and righties Luis Mendoza, Vin Mazzaro and Luke Hochevar.

Sanchez has not won since April 8, and his longest outing this season has been six innings. Hochevar has not won at home, where he is 0-4 in six starts.

Mazzaro failed to get out of the second inning Friday in a loss against the Cardinals. Mendoza gave up four runs on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings in a loss Saturday to the Cardinals.

Chen, who has won 12 games in each of the past two seasons, was the Opening Day starter. Chen is 35 and the Royals are his 10th big-league club, hardly the definition of an ace.

The Cardinals completed a weekend sweep of the Royals with an 11-8 slugfest victory Sunday at Kauffman Stadium. Even four home runs, including two my Mike Moustakas and one each by Billy Butler and Jeff Francoeur, were not enough to overcome the pathetic pitching.

In the three games, the Cardinals scored 30 runs, banged out 41 hits and drew 17 walks, including nine Sunday.

The American League Central may be up for grabs without a superior club; but, unless the Royals do something to correct their starting pitching soon, they won't be able to contend this summer.

The Kansas City starters have a 21-28 record and an ERA north of five, not nearly good enough to compete for a division title.

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