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Missed opportunities 'brutal' for Duffy, Royals

@ladsonbill24
July 30, 2020

Royals left-hander Danny Duffy left Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Tigers after the fifth inning and took a no-decision. But with the way his outing began, Duffy acknowledged that he should shoulder the blame for Kansas City squandering what had been a 4-0 lead. Duffy was dealing for the first

Royals left-hander Danny Duffy left Wednesday’s 5-4 loss to the Tigers after the fifth inning and took a no-decision. But with the way his outing began, Duffy acknowledged that he should shoulder the blame for Kansas City squandering what had been a 4-0 lead.

Duffy was dealing for the first four innings of the game. He thought he was set to have his best start of the season. He already had seven strikeouts on the night. It looked like it would be one of those times when everything was clicking for him.

Box score

“From the jump, it was the best I felt in a long time,” Duffy said. “On nights like that, your curveball and changeup are working. My slider was really good today.”

But, suddenly, he had poor command of his pitches. He allowed a leadoff walk to Victor Reyes in the fifth inning, his first of the game. Two batters later, Niko Goodrum hit a sacrifice fly to bring the Tigers within two runs. Then, the dagger came, as Jonathan Schoop hit a game-tying two-run homer off the top of the right-field wall.

At first, Duffy thought Schoop’s homer was a routine fly ball to right fielder Whit Merrifield. But he still realized he missed his spot.

“If the pitch was further down, it would have been a different result,” Duffy said.

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Two innings after Duffy left the game, reliever Ian Kennedy allowed the go-ahead homer to JaCoby Jones.

“I felt confident with what I was doing out there,” Duffy said. “It just didn’t go our way. To have that kind of stuff tonight, I have to go deeper in the game. It’s brutal. I got to go deeper.

“You never take at-bats for granted, but I was seeing so many swings and misses. Maybe I was a little over-confident in the heater. I paid for that walk -- big time. At this stage of my career, I have a pretty good grasp of what I’m doing. That walk can’t happen.”

Being more aggressive at the plate

Wednesday night also showed that the Royals have to figure out how to be consistent at the plate. During the first five innings, Kansas City was able to frustrate Tigers left-hander Matthew Boyd, collecting four runs on nine hits. Maikel Franco did most of the damage, tallying three hits with two RBIs.

But when Boyd left the game, the Royals couldn’t do anything against four Detroit relievers and were left hitless for the rest of the game.

“Sometimes, pitchers make adjustments,” said manager Mike Matheny. “They did a nice job out there. We had a good game plan going in. We put pressure on them early. We couldn’t add on a whole lot late. We have to keep the pressure on and realize they are bringing their best arms in those late innings.”

Bill Ladson has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. He covered the Nationals/Expos from 2002-2016. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook.