***Tonight's game is the MLBTV Free Game of the Day***
The 10-1 dismantling of the White Sox on Opening Day, in which the Royals scored 90.9% of the possible points and used 100% of the ways by which to score, has us all riding high. We look down from atop the double-digit mountain upon those whose offenses have scored fewer points than the average number of fingers on two human hands.
Mike Moustakas went the other way. Alex Rios hit a home run. Alcides Escobar took a walk. The beginnings of answers to questions we've had all offseason. Tonight's contest provides another tick mark in the progress of answering those questions.
Danny Duffy gets the start for the Royals. Duffy had an interesting season last year in that his strikeouts decreased but his ERA remained low. His peripherals do not support the low ERA, but there has been so much talk of whether or not Duffy can sustain a lower ERA than his peripherals due to batted ball contact.
Part of Duffy's success last year was that he generated copious amounts of popups, which are tantamount to strikeouts. He also kept line drives to a minimum while distributing work away from the average-ish infield defense to the elite outfield defense in the form of fly balls. If Duffy can do similar things this year, he could be THE guy behind Yordano Ventura. Watch for Duffy to pound the zone up early in counts with his "rising" fastball to see what kind of contact he allows.
The White Sox will throw out Jose Quintana to stem the blue tide of offense emanating from the Royals. Quintana was ace-like last year. He increased strikeouts, decreased walks, and limited home runs. Quintana relies mostly on a fourseam, changeup, curveball mix while occasionally mixing in sinkers and the rare cutter. Quintana, a lefty, will be almost exclusively fourseam/curve against lefties and will add the changeup against righties. The curve is his main punchout pitch. Watch for a heavy dose of fastballs mostly over the plate early in the count. He'll bury the curve low and away against lefties and goes for the back foot against righties (the same location). He has exceptional command over his curveball. The zone profile below is even more concentrated in that bottom left corner with 2 strikes.
Lineups for this evening's baseball game: