Originally posted on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 6/15/12

The Thursday Takeaway
As the Royals swept the Brewers out of Kauffman Stadium, one pitcher took home two of the three victories. That pitcher is lefty reliever Tim Collins, who is rapidly developing into one of the top bullpen arms in the American League.

The 22-year-old Collins struggled to rein in his walks last season, issuing 48 free passes in 67 innings as a rookie. He was tough to hit, though, holding opposing batters to a .216 average and pitching effectively against right-handed hitters, who combined for a 582 OPS. Armed with a quality fastball and outstanding curveball, Collins flashed his potential in 2011. In 2012, he has put it all together.

After collecting two strikeouts in a scoreless top of the ninth last night, Collins now owns 46 of them in 31 innings this season, good for fourth among relievers, behind only Aroldis Chapman, Kenley Jansen, and Ernesto Frieri. Perhaps more importantly, he has accomplished that while handing out only nine unintentional walks. And Collins has done his best work versus righty batters, fanning 30 of the 69 he has faced.

Though the 5-foot-7, 171-pound Collins has not received nearly as much press as Chapman and Frieri, he has been impressively effective, emerging as a key cog for manager Ned Yost. Now 27-34 and six games back in the AL Central, the bullpen has been one of the few bright spots for the Royals, ranking seventh in the league with a 2.83 ERA. Collins—who has collected four of the pen’s nine victories and chipped in with a 2.03 ERA—has emerged as the staff’s ace.

What to Watch for This Weekend

  • Daisuke Matsuzaka pitched relatively well in his return from Tommy John surgery, allowing four runs in five innings to the Nationals on June 9, but collecting eight strikeouts compared to only one walk. He gets an easier test today in the series-opening Friday matinee at Wrigley Field (2:20 p.m. ET) but must contend with Cubs starter Ryan Dempster, who has pitched 15 scoreless innings to pick up his first two wins of the season in his past two starts. 
  • The Nationals have passed their interleague test with flying colors so far, breezing through their road trip to Boston and Toronto with a perfect 6-0 records. Now, they will return home to open a three-game series with their first-place counterparts, the Yankees, who have also won six in a row. Gio Gonzalez made five starts against Joe Girardi’s team while with the Athletics and had little luck, going 1-4 with a 7.27 ERA and issuing 20 walks in just 26 innings over five starts. He will try to turn that around while squaring off with Phil Hughes tonight (7:05 p.m. ET).
  • Is there anything better than Vin Scully broadcasting a brilliant pitching duel? We might get precisely that in game one of the Dodgers-White Sox series in Los Angeles, where young Chris Sale will be up against the grizzled veteran, Clayton Kershaw (7:10 p.m. ET). Sale has earned a win in each of his last five trips to the mound, and Robin Ventura’s team is 7-1 in his starts dating back to May 1.
  • Carlos Beltran went to the hospital with a severe stomach virus on Wednesday night, just hours after hitting a game-winning home run. The 35-year-old outfielder took last night off, but he should return sometime during the Cardinals’ three-game weekend series against their intrastate rivals, the Royals, who were also Beltran’s first major-league team. Beltran has been hot of late, going 11-for-22 with four home runs and only one strikeout over his last six games. 
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Dallas Cowboys' team employee bus involved in fatal crash

Aldon Smith posts video under a pseudonym of a blunt on Periscope

WATCH: Cam Newton get blocked by a girl playing volleyball

Russia avoids complete ban from Rio Olympics by the IOC

Report: Padres trying to move Andrew Cashner, Derek Norris


Baseball's top prospect called up to majors by Astros

Report: Braves 'aggressively' shopping Francoeur, Aybar

Report: Hue Jackson designing plays for Terrelle Pryor

Report: Darnell Dockett expected to announce retirement

Report: Yankees have not discussed releasing A-Rod

Report: D-Backs making Shelby Miller available via trade

Cristiano Ronaldo spars with Conor McGregor in gym

Adam Silver is the new standard-bearer for league commisioners

Iowa football player held at gunpoint by police while playing Pokemon Go

Eight most significant injuries going into NFL training camp

Man. U players banned from playing 'Pokemon Go?'

Ken Griffey Jr. put on backwards hat during HOF speech

Mike Piazza honors 9/11 victims during Hall of Fame speech

Jeremy Lin hints he is racially profiled by arena employees

Why did Rio mayor offer to put kangaroo in Olympic village?

Joe Maddon wastes no time cracking Chris Sale joke

Report: Lamar Odom walked out on family intervention

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

Effect of ban on Russia could span beyond the Olympic Games

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

QUIZ: Name every city to host the NBA All-Star Game

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

The top NHL free agents available as offseason winds down

WATCH: NBA jersey sponsors that need to happen

Expansion draft playing heavy hand in the current NHL offseason

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker