The Royals have been a great team this year for a number of reasons. Their defense is elite. Their bullpen is elite. Their offense is significantly improved from last year. And yet, no team is perfect. Danny Duffy's brief, chaotic outing was just another in a string of disappointments from the starting squad, and would lead to a loss in the sandwich game versus the Cleveland
Duffy's implosion was quick and intense. Jason Kipnis led off the game with a double, which Dyson misplayed off the outfield wall. Duffy promptly gave a single to Carlos Santana, a liner to centerfield that Lorenzo Cain charged. Kipnis decided to run on Cain, which did not turn out well for him. Cain threw a beautiful laser to Salvador Perez, and though Santana advanced to second on the throw, Kipnis was out at home.
It was not a good day of control for Duffy. He seemed to lean heavily on his breaking pitches, a curious move as he never had a handle on them. Duffy hit Ryan Raburn on the foot in the first inning with a breaking ball that had no focus whatsoever. On the very next batter, Duffy airmailed a fastball, allowing a run to score.
The second inning was a brutal one for the gnarly lefty. Nick Swisher opened the inning with a single, and Duffy immediately hit former Royal Mike Aviles with a pitch. With two on and no outs, Lonnie Chisenhall doubled to right field. Former Royal Brett Hayes and Kipnis then kicked off the singles train, and the trio of hits allowed another three runs to score. Ned Yost pulled Duffy, who had somehow eclipsed 50 pitches in 1+ innings, with two on and no outs and behind 4-0.
This was a brutal outing for Duffy, made only slightly better by the fact that most of the hits just barely missed defenders. It was the shortest outing in Duffy's career, and seems more like 2011 Duffy than 2015 Duffy. This kind of start is often indicative of injury, and for a Tommy John survivor like Duffy, you have to be concerned about his health. Duffy is an integral part of this rotation; he must be good for the Royals to succeed long-term.
Yost called on Brandon Finnegan in the second inning to get out of the jam, and get out of the jam he did. Finnegan looked quite impressive until the fourth inning, when a pitch count climbing into the upper 30s and 40s may have impacted his performance. Finnegan left with two outs in the fourth inning; the former TCU star allowed an additional run to score that inning whilst allowing four baserunners (three of them walks). Chris 'The Spider' Young and his many long limbs relieved him, muffling the threat with a strikeout of Raburn. The Spider might just be the Royals' third best starter as it stands now, which is a bit of an issue.
The Royals offense was absent for much of the game. However, showing a pronounced difference from last year, they powered their way to a handful of runs. Kendrys Morales hammered out a 2-run home run in the fourth inning, and Lorenzo Cain's triple and Eric Hosmer's double added an additional run in the sixth inning, making it 5-3 Cleveland.
Unfortunately, The Spider is only human and gets fatigued like every other pitcher. Yost put in token lefty Franklin Morales in the seventh inning. F. Morales would proceed to cough up a quartet of runs to make it 9-3 Cleveland after seven. Yost silently watched Morales from the dugout, keeping Morales in as the sacrificial lamb. Though more baseball was yet to be played, that was effectively the end of the game. Cleveland would tack on another run to make the final 10-3.
These types of blowouts happen, but it's up to the Royals to bounce back. Tomorrow is the finale to the Cleveland series, and Kansas City can still take it. It's Edinson Volquez vs. 2014 Cy Young winner Corey Kluber.