The Kansas City Royals enter yet another week at the top of the American League Central, albeit due to a technicality from last night’s game which was suspended against the Cleveland Indians and will resume September 22nd. The Royals entered Sunday tied with the Tigers, but since they fell short to the Chicago White Sox, the Royals are in sole possession of first place once again. The Royals have gone on a bit of a skid lately, losing four of their last ten ball games. The season has consisted of numerous stretches where the team would go on streaks, both winning and losing, but one player that has been a cornerstone for the ball club has been starting pitcher Danny Duffy.
Danny Duffy has put up great numbers across the board this season. Despite his subpar win-loss record which depends mostly on run support anyhow, Duffy has been arguably one of the best pitchers in the American League this season, if not the entire MLB. He is currently boasting a 2.47 ERA, and outside of the month of May, his ERA has not been higher than his current August ERA of 2.41, and over six starts in June had a stellar 1.69 ERA.
Danny Duffy has been plagued by the injury bug throughout his short career so far, having Tommy John surgery in 2012, and started the 2014 season in Triple A. Not making his first start until May, Duffy has not missed a start all year and has been the best Royals starter throughout the season.
Since the All-Star break, when games start to count more heading into the playoffs, Duffy’s ERA has been 1.91. An unusual statistic, which speaks to the effectiveness of Duffy against hitters in the league, is his 1.61 ERA when he is behind in the count, compared to a 2.55 ERA when he is ahead. Typically these numbers are reversed, but when you have the quality of pitches Duffy has, it is anything but typical.
With names such as ace James Shields, Jason Vargas, and the highly coveted Yordano Ventura in the starting rotation, the name Danny Duffy has gone quietly around the league. Not in Kansas City, however. Although Shields, Vargas, and Jeremy Guthrie are the more seasoned veterans of the rotation, Duffy has really stepped up and taken the reigns of the team and has been a poised professional all year long. Though Duffy may not get the national attention as some other top end pitchers, Duffy has led this Royals team to what could be their first playoff appearance in nearly 30 seasons.
Duffy is definitely not someone who is afraid to show how he is feeling and wears his heart on his sleeve every time he takes the mound. Since day one when he was first called to the big leagues, Duffy has played with a fire and desire that has made him one of the best pitchers in the game today. It is hard to not let your emotions affect your performance, but Duffy has seemed to master them and has been able to turn frustration into productivity, something most veteran starters would be envious of.
Danny Duffy has been exactly what he has needed to be this season for the Royals, if not more. The ability and quality of pitches has always been there for him and it is now turning into success for a franchise that absolutely needs it from him.
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