In a story that defines Danny Duffy’s biggest struggle as a professional, he was given an early lead and couldn’t hold on, blowing a 4-0 advantage with a meltdown inning. The end result was a 9-5 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers.
It started well enough for the Royals, as Sal Perez hit a two-run double in the first inning, and he came home to score on a throwing error later in the frame. In the third, Perez once again came through with an RBI hit, hitting a single into left-center to make it 4-0.
Perez is playing so, so well this year. He had four hits to raise his average to .368, which is one of the finest marks in the majors. At this point in the game, it was 4-0, and Danny Duffy had cruised through the first three innings.
That’s... that’s when it fell apart.
Danny Duffy’s fourth inning: homer (4-1), single, walk, single, out, walk (4-2), out, grand slam (4-6), single, and then taken out. Brutal.
It was the same story that’s plagued Duffy’s entire career. The man’s proneness to a meltdown inning is alarming. The grand slam was hit by nine-hitter catcher Jacob Nottingham, who was hitting .172 entering the night. Duffy just hasn’t put together any sort of consistent results that the Royals were hoping for when they paid him $65 million in January 2017. Now nine years into his career, Duffy feels like the same pitcher that he was as a rookie.
Jake Newberry gave up three more runs in the sixth to make it 9-4. The Royals did make a push in the eighth, loading the bases with two out on a pair of walks and an infield single by Whit Merrifield. But Adalberto Mondesi, who had a good night overall with a couple of hits, hit a lazy groundout to strand a bunch more runners.
Sal Perez did blast a home run in the ninth off Josh Hader to make it 9-5. That’s seven bombs for Perez this year. He deserved better tonight.
Tonight was just an annoying game. It’s the Royals opening day starter and $65 million man opposing a Brewers starter that had an ERA north of 5.00, and the offense jumped on him early to get four quick runs. Duffy not being able to hold this lead is inexcusable. It’s something we’ve seen from him his entire career.
Also, Scott Blewett made his MLB debut! That was nifty, I guess. He pitched two scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh, striking out a couple of Brewers. Josh Staumont handled the eighth.
The Royals are 21-30. They have guaranteed that they will not have a winning season in 2020, which marks 12 times in 15 Dayton Moore seasons that the team did not have a winning record.
Tomorrow: now down to nine games left, the series continues in Milwaukee behind the arm of Kris Bubic. He will oppose Corbin Burnes.