Sometimes, even the pitcher doesn’t know where the ball is going to end up after he throws it. His breaking pitches dance so much that it is hard to estimate what is going to happen. Danny Duffy was the definition of effectively wild against the Detroit Tigers Friday, who simply couldn’t figure him out.
The Kansas City Royals‘ starter allowed just one hit over six innings, shutting down one of the most potent offensive lineups in baseball. Duffy was called up to spot-start in the first half of a double-header. His only other appearance this season was back in the beginning of April.
The 24-year-old left-hander had Tommy John surgery last year, so the Royals were unwilling to let his pitch count climb too high, but they had to like what they saw while he was in the game. Duffy features a couple of exceptional off-speed pitches, which had Tigers’ hitters off balance all day.
Miguel Cabrera was the only Tigers’ hitter who was able to register a hit, and it wasn’t much of one. Duffy had registered 5.2 hitless innings prior to Cabrera’s single in the sixth inning.
It was a great decision to pitch Duffy in the first half of the double-header, as he is a completely different type of pitcher from Jeremy Guthrie, who started yesterday, and James Shields. Shields will start the second game of the double-header. Guthrie and Shields are both very deliberate with their pitches, but Duffy’s pitches have a ton of action and dance across the plate.
Duffy won’t likely be around as a regular this season, but he showed why the Royals see him as one of the top arms in their minor league system. He’s a change of pace pitcher who catches hitters off guard with his deceptive arsenal. His start Friday should have earned him a few more opportunities to prove he belongs in MLB.