Danny Duffy has not been good this year. His primary problem, as you may have gathered, is that he’s allowing too many home runs. He has allowed a home run in 5 straight starts which, by itself, isn’t great but also isn’t all that out of the ordinary in the current baseball environment. The problem lies in the fact that in those 5 games the total number of home runs he has allowed is 9. Since he’s only pitched 26 innings over that time that comes to more than 3 HR/9 IP. That is very, very bad.
His latest start, Sunday in Cleveland, was also by far the worst of his career. He had a -4 Game Score Version 2.0. For those of you unfamiliar with this FanGraphs stat it starts at a constant and goes up or down depending on individual outcomes. For example, any out recorded is worth 2 points, a strikeout is worth an addition point for a total of 3, and every run allowed is worth -3. There are other points and the constant changes from year to year such that an average start will yield a 50 but the end result is a stat that should give you a percentage chance for a team to win a game based on that start.
The tl;dr version of all that is that Duffy’s start last weekend was so bad that the Royals had approximately a -4% chance of winning that game. That’s not good. The good news, I suppose, is that he can hardly do much worse than that, today.
The bad news is that if he wants to lead the Royals to a win, and you know he does, he’ll be facing off against my pick for the AL Cy Young Award, this season, Luis Severino. Severino is already 6-1 with a 2.14 ERA this season which you might note is light years ahead of what Duffy has achieved for the boys in blue. He has as many complete game shutouts this season as he has starts where he’s allowed more than 3 runs; 1 of each. To put this in perspective, his second worst start of the season would easily be Duffy’s second best. According to Baseball Reference, Severino has only started against the Royals once and he pitched 8 scoreless innings while striking out 7 in a game he pitched last year.
The message you should be receiving is that the pitching match-up does not favor the Royals.