Add George Brett to the list of those who are mystified by Danny Duffy’s struggles.
“I don’t understand it,” Brett said. “He’s got too good of stuff. Seems like the home run is really plaguing him.”
No doubt. With two surrendered in Sunday’s 11-2 loss at Cleveland, Duffy, the Royals' opening day starter, has given up 12 home runs in 47 innings this season, second in the American League to Cleveland’s Josh Tomlin (13)
Duffy gave up three to the Red Sox’s Mookie Betts last week and has surrendered eight in his previous three starts. That has contributed to a miserable 1-5 record and 6.51 ERA. Duffy has given up 2.3 homers per nine innings; his career average is 1.1 and last year it stood at 0.8.
On the other hand, Brett, in his 23rd year as the Royals' vice president of baseball operations, likes what he sees in the batter’s box with several of the club's players.
“Not really surprised by (Jorge) Soler,” Brett said. “Not really surprised by (Alex) Gordon. He’s too good a player. He’s made some changes. He’s standing more upright. He’s moved his hands a little bit, so his hands go back a little big now.
“The offense is playing pretty good.”
The Royals' bullpen was shaky early; now it's the team's starting pitching that is falling short. The Royals were 13-27 entering Monday’s game against the Tampa Rays. But Brett sees the Royals’ record eventually catching up to the team’s talent.
“You’re going to find a lot of inconsistencies,” said Brett, who was attending the Joe McGuff ALS Classic at LionsGate on Monday. “And there are six or seven other teams in the same boat.
“But if the starting pitching comes around and the bullpen is pitching good, I think there they’re going to score enough runs to win. They can be competitive. It’s just been a frustrating start.”