CHICAGO — Even from the press box, you could see Tyler Duffey’s fury. The 25-year-old righthander fumes at himself, boils with anger when things go wrong, but this time he had a new target.
Duffey walked Adam Eaton on a 3-2 pitch to start the third inning, then went to 3-2 on Tim Anderson. And after fouling off a couple of pitches, Anderson was sitting on a fastball, Duffey’s seventh of the at-bat. When he got it, he launched it deep into the bleachers in left-center.
That’s why Duffey was mad at Duffey. But Anderson turned his back to home plate, dropped his bat with a flourish and slowly began backpedaling toward first base, the better to observe the ball enter the stratosphere. That’s why Duffey was even angrier.
“It’s one thing to hit a homer, but … “ Duffey’s voice trailed off after the game. “I mean, I gave up a 500-foot homer to [Seattle’s] Nelson Cruz, and he [just] jogs around the bases.”
Duffey stared at Anderson as he rounded third base and headed toward home, and some of the White Sox began watching him, just in case. Nothing happened, except the young pitcher appeared furious on the mound. Brian Dozier jogged over to make sure Duffey remained focused.
It’s debatable whether he was. Melky Cabrera roped Duffey’s next pitch into deep center field, and Byron Buxton, trying to avoid a collision with right fielder Logan Schafer, couldn’t hold on to it. Next batter, Jose Abreu, lined a ball into the left-field corner for another double, and Paul Molitor hopped out of the dugout to remove his pitcher.
Duffey’s teammates were apparently just as offended. When Anderson came to bat in the eighth, needing a double to complete the cycle, he was nearly hit by a Ryan O’Rourke pitch, and both benches were warned about further antagonism. Anderson eventually grounded out, and home plate ump Tripp Gibson was careful to stay between Anderson and O’Rourke as they left the field.
Molitor was asked after the game: Was Duffey still flustered when he faced his final two batters?
“It’s a redundant topic,” the manager said. “We talk a lot about him and how he pitches and the fact that he gets very emotional on the mound.”
He was already upset, Molitor said, by how the game started. Buxton was unable to catch Anderson’s first inning fly ball, which was scored a triple, and Cabrera drove him in with a double, then scored himself on a wild pitch.
“He came in and was disappointed that he wasn’t able to pick us up in the inning,” Molitor said. “The wild pitch, giving up a second run … He rebounded by striking out [all three batters] in the second, but the third inning came and he got into trouble.”