On a night where he was overshadowed in a loss because of a gem from Hisashi Iwakuma, Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy did everything he could to give his team a chance to win. Needing only 88 pitches to work through six-plus innings of one-run ball, Duffy was effective at somewhat quieting the Seattle Mariners and their torrid start to the month of May.
Duffy was making his second spot start for injured pitcher Bruce Chen. He went six plus innings strong, allowing only a single earned run, two hits and striking out four while walking three (one intentional). But manager Ned Yost should realize going forward that Duffy is a far better option at the back end of the Royals’ rotation than Chen, who is a 16-year veteran with a career ERA of 4.53. He was off to a horrendous beginning in 2014 before landing on the disabled list, posting a 7.45 ERA across four starts, registering two losses.
Chen was decent when given moderate workloads out of the bullpen last year. He finished 2013 at 9-4 with a 3.27 ERA in 34 appearances (15 games started). Meanwhile, the 25-year old Duffy has been a touted prospect by the Royals for quite some time now. He holds a career 2.88 ERA in the minors, and last year across 12 appearances in Triple-A he had 59 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched.
Moving forward, it would make a lot more sense to relegate Chen back to a limited role in the bullpen, so that Yost and the Royals can give Duffy a chance to spread his wings and develop into a strong arm in the rotation behind the likes of James Shields and Yordano Ventura.