Based on his peripheral numbers, Danny Duffy is having one of the better stretches of his career. He is striking out over 10 batters per nine innings, his WHIP of 1.06 is the 18th best among all starting pitchers and his opponents’ .205 average is 17th best in the league. He leads the Royals and is top-25 in the league in both expected wOBA and ERA.
In fact, his expected statistics according to Baseball Savant paint him as one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball. The only pitchers with a bigger difference between their actual ERA and their expected ERA that with an expected xwOBA under .300 are Luise Castillo, Tyler Glasnow, and Zach Eflin.
The only problem for Duffy has been the home run ball. He has given up six homers in seven starts, tied for the 6th most in baseball. He is pacing a career high in HR/9 and HR/FB and half of his earned runs on the season have come via home runs.
That included all three earned runs surrendered in his last start against the White Sox, who he will face again tonight. The White Sox also happen to be coming off a month where they hit more home runs than the Royals have hit all season.
Duffy will be opposed by Dylan Cease, who has given up just three runs against the Royals in 10.1 innings this season. He did, however, walk six batters in his start against Kansas City last week in just 4.1 innings of work. The only hit he surrendered in that game was a homer to Alex Gordon, who is getting dangerously close to 200 career bombs.
As far as the lineup goes, the aforementioned Gordon moves up to the 5th spot tonight while newly acquired Edward Olivares will make his Royals debut in centerfield.