With Bruce Chen on the disabled list and the pitching pipeline from Omaha all but dry (where are all those pitchers the Royals were going to develop) the Royals will turn to Danny Duffy for a start on Saturday.
Duffy has been serviceable out of the pen for the Royals. He's made a total of six appearances, throwing 8.1 innings. It's early enough in the season we can probably recount his outings by heart.
-- There was his debut in Minnesota. A two-plus inning appearance where he didn't allow a baserunner in mop-up duty in a 7-1 loss.
-- His next appearance in Houston where he allowed four base runners, but whiffed four and didn't allow a run in two innings.
-- His first home appearance against the Twins, here he came on for a struggling Chen and was able to hold a one run lead for two innings before handing off to Wade Davis for the eighth inning.
-- A solid two innings in Cleveland where he allowed two hits and struck out two in a low leverage situation coming in relief for James Shields.
-- The disaster in Baltimore where he opened his appearance by hitting a batter and then committed throwing errors on back to back sacrifice bunt attempts.
-- The most recent outing - another disaster - where he again opened his appearance by hitting a batter then throwing four consecutive balls before being lifted.
|Apr 12||KCR||@||MIN||L,1-7||6-GF(8)||99||2.1||0||0||0||0||3||0||0||0.00||7||45||26||.02||0.003||6b 1-- 2 out d6||8b end d 6|
|Apr 16||KCR||@||HOU||W,6-4||9-10||W(1-0)||3||2.0||3||0||0||1||4||0||0||0.00||9||30||22||2.90||0.266||9b --- 0 out tie||10b 3 out tie|
|Apr 19||KCR||MIN||W,5-4||6-7||H(1)||2||2.0||0||0||0||1||2||0||0||0.00||7||29||18||1.56||0.175||6t --- 0 out a1||7t 3 out a1|
|Apr 22||KCR||@||CLE||W,8-2||7-8||2||2.0||2||0||0||0||2||0||0||0.00||8||38||25||.63||0.052||7b --- 0 out a4||8b 3 out a4|
|Apr 26||KCR||@||BAL||L,2-3||10-10||L(1-1)||3||0.0||0||1||0||0||0||0||1||0.00||3||8||6||2.89||-0.297||10b --- 0 out tie||10b 123 0 out tie|
|Apr 30||KCR||TOR||W,4-2||6-6||3||0.0||0||2||2||1||0||0||1||2.16||2||6||1||1.68||-0.138||6t --- 0 out a2||6t 12- 0 out a2|
In other words, he hasn't recorded an out in his last two appearances.
Manager Ned Yost says Duffy can go 75-80 pitches. It's been 11 days since he threw more than eight. And you can see from the table above, his high for the season came in his first relief outing when he threw 45. I know there's always griping around Yost and his bullpen management, but I haven't had an issue with how he's used Duffy. Mostly in two innings which, as we all know, allows Duffy to throw a large number of pitches.
Someone sent out a tweet yesterday that said Duffy averages around 19 pitches per inning. That's accurate. Maybe someone with a spreadsheet can tell me if that's high or not. That's kind of an interesting - but useless - number without proper context. James Shields averages 15 pitches an inning in his career. So maybe that's all the context we need.
Duffy will be facing a Tiger team that is again one of the most potent in baseball. First in batting average (.275), seventh in on base percentage (.331) and fourth in slugging (.413). They will also put forth a lineup featuring probably eight guys who will swing from the right side.
McCullough had an interesting feature on the enigma that is Duffy. It's a great read and a good primer for his start today. Electric stuff. Erratic command. Flashes of brilliance, combined with high pitch counts in what amount to short appearances. That's Duffy's career in a nutshell.
We will get our first look at Duffy as a starter tonight.