Lefty Danny Duffy of the Kansas City Royals and his “dead arm” gave up six runs in just four innings in his last start, which led to a 9-3 beat-down by the Houston Astros. Duffy’s short time with the Royals this year is filled with ups and downs, the latest of which brought not only concerns about his efficacy, but also his health. In his first year back after Tommy John surgery, nobody wants to hear that Duffy’s throwing arm feels funny.
These concerns aren’t the only factors that make Duffy’s next start against the St. Louis Cardinals extra important. Fans definitely want to see a healthy Danny Duffy reaching the mid-90s as he usually does when he takes the mound next Monday, if only to know that his recent velocity problem isn’t long-term. KC also needs to decide what to do with Bruce Chen when he returns, so that has a lot to do with how they choose to use Duffy when both pitchers are healthy.
Of course, the biggest factor that determines where Duffy plays this year is the factor that decides the fate of all pitchers. If Duffy stops pitching effectively, injured arm or not, he won’t be a starter for very long. After allowing one run or less in his first three starts as a Royal this year, Duffy gave up five runs in each of his last two outings. This now makes for two roles at which he’s shown both supreme skill and a penchant for disaster, so the jury is still out on one of KC’s most important players.