May 23, 2016

Tyler Duffey and the curse of the Toronto Blue Jays

Here’s a telling stat: Twins pitcher Tyler Duffey has a 2.13 ERA in 13 of 15 major league starts, but in two games against the Toronto Blue Jays — his major league debut and last week’s start — Duffey apparently can’t pitch at all, surrendering enough runs that he has an ERA of more than 14.00 versus the Jays.

He also got roughed up by the Jays in March during spring training. So what gives? Based on Duffey’s recent after-game comments, it’s hard to tell why the team from Canada has his number. Or maybe no one has specifically asked him about it.

This is what he had to say to MLB.com:

“I was missing a lot, especially to the righties with the breaking ball,” said Duffey, who fell to 1-3 with a 3.30 ERA. “Instead of knowing what I could do, I was trying to be too fine with some breaking balls. I felt good, but after the fifth I kinda laid an egg. And the rest is history.”

For Twins pitcher Phil Hughes, it’s a different kind of curse: the curse of the big first inning.

If Hughes can get out of the first without giving up too many runs, he seems to settle down and find a groove. It’s just that the first inning has killed him. He gave up three runs in the top of the first in his last start against the Jays, and that was the game, the Twins losing 3-1. Hughes fell to 1-7 as a result. He gave up five runs early in a 9-2 loss to the Orioles and surrendered six runs in two frames in a blowout loss to the Astros.

Or maybe the entire team is cursed this season.

After back-to-back wins against the Tribe, the Twins were swept in Detroit, came home to lose three of four to the Jays and as I write this, they are getting blown out by the Kansas City Royals. They currently have the worst record in baseball at 11-32.

Extra innings…

In more hopeful news, new signing Robbie Grossman made his Twins debut in style, getting a hit, double and home run in four at bats against the Jays. The Twins need all the help they can get.

 

COMMENTS

Hi, I’m Rolf Boone and I love the Twins.

I became a fan of the Minnesota Twins after a friendly wager in the early 1980s. I survived Ron Davis, the meltdown in Cleveland, Phil Bradley at the Kingdome and then marveled at a rising generation of stars and two World Series wins in 1987 and 1991. Brad Radke made the 1990s bearable, while Kirby Puckett’s eye injury, exit from the game and eventual death made it almost too much to bear. The new century ushered in more talent — Joe Mauer, Johan Santana, Joe Nathan, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau — and consecutive seasons of playoff baseball, followed by consecutive seasons of losing baseball. A winning season returned in 2015. So here we are. Go Twins.