Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Danny Duffy Let Down by Offense, Royals Lose 1-0

It was yet another rough night at the ballpark for the Royals offense, as they were shut out by Hisashi Iwakuma and the Seattle Mariners in a series-opening loss, 1-0. Iwakuma was brilliant, pitching 8 innings, allowing just 4 hits, striking out 7, and walking 0. Fernando Rodney came in for the 9th, and pitched around a bit of trouble to notch the save.

Rodney started off his inning by issuing a 4-pitch walk to Alcides Escobar, and then threw another ball to Nori Aoki. Instead of making Rodney throw a strike first, Aoki dropped down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner. Eric Hosmer followed that up with a walk of his own, but Billy Butler struck out swinging, and Salvador Perez ended the game on a fielder’s choice to shortstop.

That inning was basically the team’s only scoring opportunity all night. Hosmer collected a pair of singles, and Aoki and Alex Gordon had the other two, but the Royals mostly seemed helpless at the plate against Iwakuma’s sinking stuff. He was fooling hitters with a very good slider and splitter all night, and when batters made contact, it was generally on the ground. All in all, just a terribly disappointing offensive showing.

The lack of scoring put a damper on what was a terrific start from Danny Duffy, who bounced back from a 4-pitch walk to leadoff the first inning to pitch 6 strong innings, allowing only 2 hits, while striking out 4, and walking 3. One of those walks was intentional, which was yet another questionable decision from Ned Yost.

In the bottom of the 3rd inning, Mike Zunino doubled to leadoff the inning, and advanced to third after a sac bunt. Following a strikeout, Robinson Cano came to the plate to face the left-handed Duffy, with right-handed slugger Corey Hart on deck. Yost opted to put Cano on base, and sure enough, Hart singled to center to drive in what turned out to be the only run of the night.

Beyond that inning, Duffy was terrific. He was more efficient than he had been previously, and he only issued the two unintentional walks to go with one hit batter. Obviously you’d like to see a few more strikeouts from him, and you’d like to see a few shorter plate appearances, but this version of Duffy appeared to be much sharper, and he showed why the Royals are so high on him. When his stuff is working, he’s very difficult to hit. It did look like he struggled with his release point a bit, partially due to an inconsistent landing spot, but again, there are signs of improvement.

Notes: Kelvin Herrera relieved Duffy in the 7th inning and pitched two perfect innings, and Butler looked rusty in his first full game back in the lineup, as he went 0-4 with 2 strikeouts.

Jason Vargas will take the mound for the Royals tomorrow, facing off against Brandon Maurer at 9:10 (CDT).

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Tags: Kansas City Royals

  • Ed Connealy

    So much to like and so much to hate about this game.

  • jimfetterolf

    Good point on the grounders and puts into perspective Billy’s whine about his timing being off from sitting a few games. Billy already gets about 57% GBs, so give him a sinker and it’s no surprise he’s 0-fered, a couple of GBs and a couple of strike outs trying to get under the sinker which gets him fooled by the slider.

    Looked like a fat ‘zone last night, Duffy only had two unintentional walks, Seattle’s pitcher had none, and six hits total in the game. I’ld give the ump a win.

    • RBTGT

      Any time Billy comes to the plate, it’s a “fat zone”.

  • unclejesse40

    Is it really possible that Duffy is going to go back to the pen? I read that early in the week but after a start like that one, come on that would just be crazy to move him for Chen.

  • Amos T.

    I am depressed, disappointed, sad, overwhelmed, and downright mad! The Royals have a decent team,but other teams with similar smaller budgets such as Miami and Oakland are doing better than the Royals. The problem is with the General Manager, Dayton Moore. He needs to be fired immediately! The Royals will never go to another World Series until Moore, and probably also Yost are replaced!

    Moustakis is a total bust and needs to go to Japan or Korea. Eibner is a wasted pick as a hitter; he needs to go back to the mound, Colon is a bust; he will never be as good as Irving Falu. Bubba Starling will never make it to the majors. With such great draft picks, what can we expect?!

    With new management and players such as Hosmer and Duffy, the Royals could be a dynasty.

    I really think that I are some of the people on this board, or even a monkey throwing darts at a board can do better than Moore. Dayton Moore go home!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    • Stan Colbert

      Yost has to be replaced! If Moore can’t or won’t he needs to go as well.

  • jessanders

    Two things.

    First, if the Royals could actually hit, then Ned having Aoki bunt in the 9th probably wouldn’t have mattered.

    Second, Ned having Aoki bunt in the 9th when he did, how he did, was so ridiculous I couldn’t believe it. I was so mad I couldn’t even explain why to my wife during the game.

    Oh wells. Be Royal!