Danny Duffy as a dominant pitcher.
Mike Moustakas hits the go-ahead home run.
What the hell did we just watch?
It wasn't going to last forever. At some point, Moustakas was going to hit a home run. At some point, Duffy was going to have an effective outing. But in the same game? In key situations? Nope. Didn't see that one coming. Not at all.
There was nothing to indicate this game would denigrate into a carnival of bizarre baseball. The early innings were a ground ball-palooza. Astros starter Dallas Keuchel generates a ground ball rate of around 55 percent. The Royals have made hitting ground balls an art form. Thus, the Royals hit nine ground ball outs. And a few ground ball singles. Danny Valencia made the most noise, with a dinger in the Crawford Boxes.
Speaking of Valencia, he went 2-3 with his home run before being lifted for a pinch hitter in the eighth. Combine his dinger, with the Moustakas home run and our third basemen hit two home runs on Wednesday. Two. Which means the Royals doubled their long ball output for the season.
Things got weird in the late innings.
First, Ned Yost used pinch hitters. When Norichika Aoki stepped in for Valencia in the eighth, that was the first time a pinch hitter for the Roals happened all season. Yost doubled down with his second pinch hitter, lifting Justin Maxwell for eventual hero Moustakas.
Then in the tenth, Billy Butler dropped a soft fliner into right field for a base hit. That was strange enough. But then Ned didn't lift him for a pinch runner. Even when he went to second. Turns out they were holding onto Jarrod Dyson to enter the game for a supposedly injured Lorenzo Cain. So maybe not everything that happened after the eighth inning was bizarre.
Let's discuss Duffy for a moment. The dude was throwing supreme gas. The Astros had no chance against him. His fastball was popping at 98 mph and he was able to command his curve. It was the Duffy we've all been pining for since his big league debut nearly three years ago.
Here's his velocity chart on the night.
After the tenth, I saw a bunch of tweets about how the "Royals have solved their bullpen woes" or something like that. Yes, that was a short appearance and Duffy was great. But if he can shave a couple of mph off that fastball to pace himself for 100 pitches and he can command his curve, then he needs to be in the rotation. I guess I wouldn't have a problem keeping him in the pen for the short term to see if this wasn't some sort of Duffy fluke. If he does this consistently over the next couple of outings, he needs to be in the rotation.
That's a problem for another day. The Royals are 6-7. One game under .500. Tonight, I'll raise a glass and drink to Weird Baseball.