Virtually any athlete will tell you they’d rather be beaten by the opposition than give away a potential win. Kansas City Royals reliever Danny Duffy felt the pain of the latter occurrence tonight while he watched from the dugout as the Baltimore Orioles celebrated a dramatic victory. This loss, and the embarrassing fashion in which it happened, will be yet another gut-check for one of KC’s most important players.
In case you missed it, Duffy all but handed Baltimore a walk-off win by loading the bases without recording an out in the bottom of the 10th. He did so by hitting the lead-off batter, after getting ahead 0-2 in the count, then committing consecutive egregious throwing errors. Louis Coleman replaced Duffy on the mound and struck out Nelson Cruz before he allowed the game-winning single to Nick Markakis.
A slicing ball that landed within three inches of the right field line currently makes the Royals a losing ball club. The team has responded well to adversity and even embarrassment by bouncing back and limiting losing streaks. Overreactions from Royals fans about the bullpen are already commonplace, but let’s not assume the worst from Duffy after all this. His path to MLB success was already long and arduous, so this one awful night won’t be enough to rattle his confidence for long.
This isn’t just a bump in the road, however. This team is supposed to be competitive enough to make every game count, and if that’s the case, these are the kinds of losses that will keep them out of postseason play. The wait was supposed to be over, right? Fans don’t want to hear any more about the development of these young players and how they will react to their failures. The fans just want to see their team win — all sports are beautifully simple in that regard.