Royals Recap: Duffy Returns; Gordon Powers Up


A good sign this edition of the Kansas City Royals (58-53) is more resilient than in the past is how they bounce back from losses. After laying a big, fat zero Tuesday night against the Minnesota Twins (49-62), these Royals came roaring back, facing a pitcher who has given them fits this season, and got back on the winning track with a 5-2 victory.

Jul 20, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) reacts after scoring safely in the first inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

On the Mound

Wednesday marked the return from surgery, the popular Danny Duffy. More than 14 months after injuring his elbow, Duffy made his 2013 debut with the major league club with mixed results. He only last 3.2 innings, giving up 2 runs on 6 hits and 2 walks. The good news – he struck out 7. His velocity was good but his control was much like it has been his whole career, leaving something to be desired. As always, when he is in the strike zone, he is often wild within the zone, leaving pitches up and in the middle.

Still, although he was not conservative with his pitch count, he never let the game get out of hand. The seven strikeouts in just 11 outs is a reminder of the skill Duffy possesses. He just needs to harness it.

Once again the bullpen was brilliant. Five relievers combined to pitch 5.1 shutout innings, capped with Greg Holland nailing down his 30th save.

At the Plate

The game featured the return of Alex Gordon‘s bat. He evidently has been using a wiffle ball bat or something over the past several weeks. He homered and doubled in the contest, scoring one run and knocking in 2 others. Eric Hosmer, Billy Butler, Miguel Tejada, Brett Hayes, and Alcides Escobar all contributed to the onslaught with 2 hits each.

This and That

Maybe the biggest indicator of Gordon’s offensive struggles this season is the dearth of doubles. Gordon hit 96 double over the past two years, and had 2 other seasons with 35 or more, yet this season, he has only banged out 17 total, counting the one last night.

In fact, since June 1st, in 55 games, Gordon only has 5 doubles. His slash line in that time is not pretty – .199/.297./322/.619. His Slugging Percentage is glaringly abysmal at .322. In 2011, his Slugging % was .502. When Gordon’s swing is on, it is a thing a beauty. He needs to rediscover that sweet, double-hitting, swing.

KC Kingdom Player of the Game

Gordon’s power surge earns him his team high 13th POG award.

Aug 7, 2013; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Danny Duffy (41) delivers a pitch in the first inning against the Minnesota Twins at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

The Twins

Sam Deduno has been a thorn in the Royals’ side this year, so it was nice to see the Royals take it to him. Kansas City got to him for 4 runs on 12 in 5.2 innings.

Brian Dozier rapped out 3 hits in the loss. Jamey Carrol and Justin Morneau each added 2 hits.

Up Next

It is time to prove themselves against one of the big boys. The Boston Red Sox, who own the best record in the American League, ride into town for 4 big games. Bruce Chen (4-0, 2.03 ERA) will try to continue to shine as he matches up with the talented Jon Lester (10-6, 4.52 ERA) at 7:10. The Royals need to acquit themselves well if they are going to earn respect as a legitimate playoff contender.

AL Central Notes

Detroit Tigers (67-45): Same ole, same ole. The Tigers when their 11th in a row, scoring 2 in the top of the 14th to take out the Indians. Prince Fielder knocked in both runs with his 24th double. Brayan Pena had three hits.

Cleveland Indians (62-52): The Indians fell to 6 back of the Tigers with the loss and are only 2.5 games ahead of the Royals now. Nick Swisher and Michael Brantley each had 3 hits in the loss.

Chicago White Sox (43-69): The Sox won their 3rd straight against the Yankess, beating them 6-5 in 12. Alejandro De Aza triple in 2 to walk off with the victory.