By Jeff Montgomery
I remember the ground ball to Terry Shumpert during the 1991 season for the last out of the game when Bret Saberhagen no-hit the Chicago White Sox. A lacquered memento, which displays the final line score and a ticket from the game signed by Sabes still resides in a prominent spot in my trophy case. It is displayed next to a similar memento from George Brett’s historic 3000th hit game in my study.
Those were two of the most memorable games I had a chance to witness as a player in my career. George’s 3,000th capped a 4-hit night for him but had an interesting twist as he was picked-off first immediately following the on field celebration. Saberhagen’s No-No also included an interesting twist as a fly ball to Kirk Gibson that was initially scored a hit was later changed to an error, which kept the no-hitter in tact. To this day Gibby still swears there was no way he should have been charged with an error on the play.
On Monday against the Tampa Bay Rays, Danny Duffy turned in the most dominant pitching performance I can remember watching in person. Although he allowed a leadoff double to Desmond Jennings in the 8th inning, it was still the most dominant game I can remember. The sixteen strikeouts were a testament to how great Duffy was in the game and the reason he is the new single-game strikeout record holder in the Royals record books.
Duffy has been brilliant during the entire season and it has been thrilling to watch him turn into the pitcher everyone expected him to be. Without a doubt he has been the most consistent hurler for the Royals this season.
There have been a handful of games before last night that Duffy has at least made one think that something special (like a no-hitter) might happen but none have been as brilliant as last night’s performance. Danny has progressed in his career to the point where no one will be surprised when he does finish off a no-hitter. In fact, he will likely be the pitcher who breaks the drought and throws the next Royals no-hitter.
More important than knowing that Duffy might turn in more historic starts like he did against the Rays, is knowing that Duffy has turned himself into a reliable top of the rotation starting pitcher the Royals have been missing since Zack Greinke was wearing a Royals uniform.
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