Duffey leans on 'pen for 2nd straight start

Twins righty follows short outing in Boston with 1 1/3 innings vs. Braves

Duffey leans on 'pen for 2nd straight start

MINNEAPOLIS -- It's been a rough week for Twins right-hander Tyler Duffey, and now his spot in the rotation appears tenuous, at best.

Duffey, who gave up six runs in 2 1/3 innings against the Red Sox last week, followed it up with an even shorter outing on Wednesday, as he lasted 1 1/3 innings, allowing five runs on eight hits to put the Twins in a hole they couldn't climb out of in a 9-7 loss to the Braves at Target Field.

With a 6.12 ERA in 17 starts, Duffey now has the third-worst ERA in the Majors among pitchers with at least 80 innings this season. Twins manager Paul Molitor said Duffey will remain in the rotation for now, but top prospect Jose Berrios has been making a strong case to get called back up, posting a 1.46 ERA over his last eight starts with Triple-A Rochester. He's also on the same schedule as Duffey, as he gave up three runs in six innings with eight strikeouts in a loss Wednesday.

"[Duffey] is scheduled to pitch Monday in Cleveland, and that's all I can really say about that right now," Molitor said. "We haven't really had a chance to rehash the game or what could unfold the next couple days. That could change. But right now, he's scheduled to pitch Monday."

Duffey was roughed up in a hurry, allowing four runs on four hits and a walk in the first, needing 41 pitches to get out of the inning. He was hurt by an RBI double from Gordon Beckham and an RBI single from Freddie Freeman before serving up a two-run shot to Jeff Francoeur with two outs after getting a double play.

"I'm sure he was anxious to pitch after his last outing, and maybe it was detrimental," Molitor said. "He seems like, from my perspective, he was overthrowing. The velocity was up a little early, and that's not always a good sign. The containing part, he walked the leadoff man, and they got something together. We get the double play and we're hoping to regroup, but they follow with a double and a homer."

Duffey agreed with Molitor's assertion that was too amped up, and was clearly frustrated he forced the bullpen into early action for a second straight start.

"I had a short one last time out and obviously wanted to put us in a good situation today, but I didn't do that and taxed our bullpen again," Duffey said. "We put up enough runs to win the game, which is really frustrating to me. I just wanted to try to get the fifth, at worst."

Duffey said he plans to approach his next outing differently after talking to pitching coach Neil Allen and catcher Kurt Suzuki.

"You definitely want to bounce back," Duffey said. "But it's a fine line if you come in guns blazing. Sometimes things go wrong. So I just have to go to pitch. Neil and [Suzuki] both said, 'Just be you. Don't try to do anything too crazy.' So I hope I can get it rolling and get a head of steam."

Rhett Bollinger has covered the Twins for MLB.com since 2011. Read his blog, Bollinger Beat, follow him on Twitter @RhettBollinger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.