Originally posted on Baseball Prospectus  |  Last updated 4/11/12

The Tuesday Takeaway
Pop quiz: Name the five current members of the Royals starting rotation.

Those five pitchers have combined to throw 29 innings in the team’s first turn through the rotation and have allowed just five runs on 18 hits, 13 walks, 22 strikeouts, and no home runs. That adds up to a stellar 3.03 FIP—and it’s the main reason why manager Ned Yost’s team is off to a 3-2 start, considering that his offense has only produced 16 runs to date.

Time’s up. The five pitchers are Bruce Chen, Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Sanchez, Luis Mendoza, and Danny Duffy.

On Tuesday night, the 23-year-old Duffy fired six innings of shutout ball in the Royals’ rain-shortened, 3-0 win over the Athletics. Though he issued four walks, Duffy also held Oakland to just one hit—a Cliff Pennington double—and struck out eight batters, his second-highest total in 21 career appearances.

Duffy made his big-league debut on May 18 of last season and stayed with the Royals through early September, but he struggled to find any semblance of consistency, and he only once notched consecutive quality starts. It certainly wasn’t for a lack of stuff, though.

Armed with a mid-90s fastball and plus curve, Duffy fanned Coco Crisp and Jonny Gomes in the first inning last night and never looked back. Duffy’s next assignment—most likely a date with the Tigers at Kauffman Stadium on Monday—should prove more challenging, but he’s on the verge of establishing himself as a fixture in Kansas City’s gradually improving rotation.

What to Watch for on Wednesday

  • Most teams will play their sixth games of the season this evening, which means it’s time for the second round of ace-versus-ace matchups. The cream of today’s crop might be the duel between Josh Johnson and Roy Halladay (7:05 p.m. ET) in Philadelphia. For a taste of what might happen, rewind to the perfect night of May 29, 2010.
  • The Cardinals were creative this offseason in finding ways to overcome the loss of Albert Pujols, but by entrusting the heart of their batting order to the aging Lance Berkman and Carlos Beltran, they took on considerable injury risk. Berkman was lifted for a pinch-runner in the eighth inning of the Cards’ 3-1 win over the Reds on Tuesday and is now dealing with a “tender” calf. He’s expected to rest on Wednesday and return on Friday, but muscle injuries this early in the season are worrisome, particularly for players in their mid-30s. Any aggravation would likely land Berkman on the disabled list, so this is a situation to monitor for the rest of the week.
  • Chad Billingsley delivered perhaps the most impressive 2012 debut of any starting pitcher when he struck out 11 Padres over 8 1/3 shutout innings last Friday and sent fantasy managers everywhere scurrying to check their leagues' waiver wires. There was buzz earlier this spring that—heading into the first year of a three-year, $35 million extension—Billingsley was making mechanical changes that could lead to a renaissance. An encore in tonight's matchup with the Pirates (10:10 p.m. ET) could go a long way toward proving that he's back to being the three-win pitcher he was from 2008-2010.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Bright future for Minnesota Timberwolves

Eli and Archie Manning say Peyton won’t likely leave Denver if he plays in 2016

NCAA mulls changes to graduate transfer and targeting rules

Cavs active in NBA trade market, covet Jared Dudley

Roger Goodell expectedly dodges Patriots-related questions at Super Bowl

Baltimore Orioles acquire starting pitcher Odrisamer Despaigne

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

USC athletic director Pat Haden to retire in June

Report: Browns owner ‘frustrated, emotional’ about Johnny Manziel

Raiders and Texans to play MNF game in Mexico City in 2016

Goodell wants to keep Raiders, Chargers in home markets

Deadly shooting breaks out at Dublin boxing weigh-in

Mike Shula vs. Wade Phillips: The best story of Super Bowl 50

Take a moment to appreciate the greatness of Cam Newton

4-Star 2018 quarterback Matt Corral commits to USC

QUIZ: Name every NFL regular season MVP

WATCH: Avery Bradley nails buzzer beater to beat Cavs

WATCH: Jimmy Butler taken to locker room in wheel chair

Klay Thompson's first five years in historical context

WATCH: Cubs' Kris Bryant went swimming with sharks

Sports Authority taking steps to file for bankruptcy

Major League Baseball threatens to disassociate from DraftKings

NFL considering moving Pro Bowl to Australia

Joe Montana warns NFL players about potential long-term damage after retirement

Report: Two people fired for leaking Jason Pierre-Paul information

‘Crying Jordan’ photographer had no idea it existed until this week

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.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

The 14 biggest plays in Super Bowl history

Five outrageous predictions for Super Bowl 50

QUIZ: Name the winning starting quarterback from every Super Bowl

The top six matchups that could decide Super Bowl 50

Seven unheralded players set to make major impacts in SB 50

10 underrated performances in the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

X-factors in Super Bowl 50

NHL nightmare: No Canadian teams in playoff hunt

QUIZ: Name the Super Bowl halftime performers since 1991

Manziel's father fears for QB's life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker