Slumping Tigers have tough task against Danny Duffy

MLB Kansas City

The runs are coming at a trickle and the losses are piling up.

It’s a rough time right now for the Detroit Tigers, who have lost eight of their last nine games. They have produced just 13 runs in those defeats, including three in the first two games of their four-game home series against Kansas City.

They’ll play the third of those games on Sunday.

Brady Singer and two relievers held down the Tigers hitters on Saturday, limiting them to just three hits as Kansas City won a 2-1 squeaker.

Tigers manager A.J. Hinch said his clubhouse is filled with frustration.

“(It’s) pretty high, as you would expect coming off some of these losses,” he said. “We’re better than how we’ve played and we’re getting it handed to us pretty often right now. Our guys are pretty frustrated and quite honestly (ticked) off.”

Danny Duffy will start for the Royals on Sunday. Duffy, who has started regularly for Kansas City since 2014, has been stellar in his first three outings this season.

Duffy (2-1, 0.50) has allowed just one earned run while striking out 19 batters in 18 innings. He was a hard-luck loser to Tampa Bay in his last start on Monday, giving up two unearned runs on four hits in six innings while striking out eight.

“I think in years past, a lot of my struggles have been fighting against myself,” Duffy said. “The mind’s a powerful tool, and it can work for you or it could work against you. … I feel like I’m in a pretty good spot physically and really good spot mentally, and I’m really thankful for both of those.”

The Tigers have seen plenty of Duffy over the years. He’s faced them more than any other opponent — 29 appearances (25 starts) — and posted an 8-10 record and 4.79 ERA.

The 32-year-old left-hander is pitching as well as he has during any point of his career.

“I love talking about the Danny I’m watching show up here every day,” manager Mike Matheny said. “The one who’s doing his work in between his starts, how he’s competing, how he’s working with his teammates. I just don’t think it’s coincidence you’re seeing the kind of production you’re getting because of how consistently he’s going about his work.”

Matheny was also pleased on Saturday by Josh Staumont, who recorded his first career save by getting the last three outs, including two strikeouts.

“He’s taken so many great steps in the right direction,” Matheny said. “To watch him go out there in a one-run game and do what he did, it was a really special day for our guys.”

Detroit’s starter on Sunday, Michael Fulmer (1-1, 3.94 ERA), started and lost the first game of a split doubleheader on Wednesday. He threw 60 pitches in four innings, allowing three runs on four hits against Pittsburgh.

Fulmer is 2-5 with a 4.96 ERA in 11 career starts against the Royals. Whit Merrifield has been a tough out for Fulmer, as the Royals leadoff man is batting .435 in 23 at-bats against the right-hander with two homers.

–Field Level Media

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