Glove malfunction results in unfortunate error for Royals 1B Matt Duffy

Talk about a tough error.

Kansas City Royals first baseman thought he had a sure out to start the bottom of the first inning on Monday. Instead, Cleveland Guardians left fielder Steven Kwan arrived safely at first base while Duffy was left wondering where the ball went.

The play took place with Kwan facing a 1-2 count against Royals starter Ryan Yarbrough in a 0-0 game. Yarbrough induced a ground ball to shortstop Bobby Witt Jr with an 87 mph sinker. Witt gathered the ball and fired a strike to Duffy that beat Kwan to the bag by a full stride. Duffy reached out to snare the ball only to watch it slip through his grasp.

But it wasn’t because he misplayed it. The throw from Witt hit its target only to break through the webbing of Duffy’s glove and up against the wall running down the first-base line.

Kwan reached first as the potential go-ahead run with no outs. Duffy was tagged with an error.

The play certainly presented a dilemma for scorekeepers. Something had to go down in the scorebook to account for Kwan reaching safely. It wasn’t a hit. But should Duffy have been penalized for an equipment malfunction?

Matt Duffy, seen here during a June game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. (Jay Biggerstaff/Reuters)

It is his glove, after all. Nobody’s more responsible for the condition of Duffy’s equipment than Duffy. So as unfair as it seems, tagging Duffy with an error was the right call. The alternative of scoring the play a hit would have unduly punished Yarbrough with the potential of an earned run on his record.

Fortunately for the Royals, there was no run scored of any kind in the inning. Yarbrough induced a ground ball and two fly-ball outs to end the inning with the game still tied at 0-0.

Duffy, meanwhile, was left to contemplate a new glove manufacturer.