Alcides Escobar was the offensive star of the match, for the Royals. He walked and also hit a two-run home run. He was involved in every run scored for the Royals because he also scored on a passed ball in the eighth. Everything else went just about the way you’d expect.
The biggest story of the night, though, was Danny Duffy. Not because he pitched particularly well, unfortunately. He allowed six runs in 5.1 innings. He only walked one, which was good, but he also only struck out two. He threw 100 pitches and once again gave up a single home run but also a bunch of other hits which made this yet another game in which he allowed both a single home run and at least six earned runs.
So if he didn’t pitch well, and he didn’t pitch surprisingly poorly, what makes him the story of the game? There have been some fans, recently, who wondered if maybe Danny was taking things a bit easy now that he has his big contract. His performance tonight should put an end to that wondering. It all started in the sixth inning when, with a runner on, Cardinals centerfielder Harrison Bader attempted to check his swing on a two-strike pitch and the Royals were absolutely convinced he went around. The first-base umpire was not and signaled that he didn’t go. From my perspective it was a borderline call that could have gone either way. A couple pitches later and Bader was depositing the ball into the left-field bullpen.
Danny was livid. He yelled at the umpire until he was ejected and then he screamed some more. This in a game that already wasn’t particularly close in a season that has not been particularly worth getting worked up about. Danny still cares as much as ever. Of course, this was an opening for another subset of Royals fandom to tout their pet theory: that Danny is a headcase. Which is just as asinine as the other.
When Danny Duffy got fired up in 2015, 2016, and 2017 it was because he was ultra-competitive. Now that the results aren’t what we had hoped for it’s because he’s a headcase? No. Danny is still the same guy he’s always been. He’s passionate. He’s always been passionate. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it hurts. None of it is because he’s a “headcase”. Danny is just a human, like any of us. It does him nor anyone else any good to make these wild diagnoses. So knock it off.
And while I’m telling people to knock things off, I’d just like to say for my own part that I don’t approve of mocking people for their appearance simply because we don’t agree with a call they made on the baseball field.
The Royals will try to avoid the sweep, tomorrow. Jakob Junis will face off against Luke Weaver in the series finale.