Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
As it was, Game One of the 2014 World Series went about as badly as it could have for the Royals. Not only did James Shields get hit hard, but he left after three batters in the fourth, without recording an out. That type of performance could burn through a bullpen, and in a series like this, that could prove disastrous.
It certainly appeared as though that could be the case when Danny Duffy entered the game. After a sacrifice bunt, Duffy walked the next two batters to force in a run. Tim Collins was warming up, and it seemed as though the Royals biggest fears could come true.
Instead, Duffy was able to get through his early command problems, getting into the seventh before being removed after allowing consecutive baserunners to start the inning. Collins and Jason Frasor combined for the final three innings, as the Royals managed to preserve the bullpen as best as they could.
Danny Duffy’s performance did not make a difference in the result of Game One, but it may have played a factor in Game Two. Instead of needing to use one of the Kelvin Herrera/Wade Davis/Greg Holland trio, Duffy was able to extend the bullpen, keeping the trio, as well as Brandon Finnegan, fresh.
Sometimes, the little things can make a big difference in a playoff series. Duffy being able to absorb those three innings, saving the bullpen from being worn out after just the first game. It was certainly a factor in Game Two, as Ned Yost had his lockdown trio ready to go.
Danny Duffy may not get much recognition for his performance on Tuesday, and the statistics will not show the true value of what he did. But what truly mattered was that Duffy lasted those three innings, giving Yost and the bullpen exactly what it needed.
Danny Duffy, after two games, may be the unsung hero of the series for the Royals.