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Gamethread CXLIII - Royals at Marlins

We all know how this works by now, right?

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals
Danny Duffy will pitch
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

More baseball today. Two of the worst teams in the MLB will face off in one of the emptiest stadiums in the sport. I’m pretty sure some minor league teams are drawing better than the Marlins are, right now.

Danny Duffy will pitch for the Royals. This will be his second start since returning from his latest sting on the IL. He had a perfectly mediocre start his last time out when he struck out three, allowed three earned runs, and pitched one out into the seventh inning. I don’t know what to expect from him anymore. A mediocre quality start seems about the best we can hope for. The command just isn’t there to dominate like he did a few years ago. It’s not necessarily that he walks a ton but he’s gone back to the thing he struggled with early - an inability to finish guys off.

The Marlins will send Caleb Smith to the mound. He has some very impressive strikeout numbers but really struggles with the long ball. He’s been mostly solid for the Marlins but he’s really struggled lately. His last three starts, and four of his last five, have seen his strikeouts dwindle while he’s given up five or more runs. Since the start of August his ERA has been 7.04 - with an even more unsightly FIP - and he’s allowed more than three home runs per nine innings on average. He’s given up at least one home run in every start over that period, and usually two or more. Either the Royals’ offense will wake up and take advantage or they’ll allow him to get his act together.

Just for a bit of humor, MLB notes that Smith has been a “workhorse” for the Marlins because he hasn’t missed a start since returning from the IL in July and has factored into 10 decisions in those 11 starts. It fails to note that his record is 5-5 (4-0 in the first five starts, 1-5 since) and he’s only averaged 5 innings per start for the last month or so.