Duke has allowed two runs over 10.1 innings in July, with 12 strikeouts to just four walks. The 11-year vet is posting the second-best K/9 of his career (10.31) and leads the team in appearances with 51, but despite the effectiveness and high usage, Duke isn't currently slated to get save opportunities.
Duke pitched a scoreless ninth inning Wednesday, striking out two while working around a hit for his first save of the season. It was just his third career save, but with closer David Robertson having pitched on three consecutive days (including a four-out save Tuesday), Duke got the call with two left-handed hitters due up in the ninth for Boston. If you're a Duke owner because your league counts holds, it's a nice bonus; if not, you can safely ignore this save. There's no changing of the guard happening here.
Duke has pitched five innings across eight games for the month of June, allowing one run in that time. With 12 holds this season, Duke continues to be one of the White Sox primary setup pitchers. However, Duke's subpar WHIP of 1.41 has been made possible by his troubles against left-handed hitters and 4.0 BB/9. Lefties are hitting .275 off Duke, which is rather unexpected, as he's held left-handed batters to a batting average below .200 in each of his last two seasons.
Duke has a 2.93 ERA and 1.24 WHIP after pitching 15.1 innings across 23 games. After a disappointing 2015 campaign, Duke has taken strides in the right direction as his ERA is back to being below 3.00. He's also drastically improved his ball control, lowering his BB/9 from 2015's career high of 4.75 to 2.35 in 2016. Duke's contributions have helped the White Sox build one of the league's top bullpens in terms of ERA (2.80) and opponent batting average (.216).
Duke has appeared in seven of the White Sox's first 11 games, but he has pitched just 1.2 innings in that span. Duke had transitioned into more of a traditional setup role in 2015 after serving as a left-handed specialist for much of his career. He has reverted back to that latter role in 2016, frequently coming in to face a team's left-handed pitcher and then exiting when a right-handed batter comes up, regardless of whether he recorded an out. Simultaneously, Matt Albers and Nate Jones have become closer David Robertson's primary setup men.