Danny Duffy will return to the rotation, although he will be limited to 50 pitches, according to Ned Yost. Expect Brian Flynn to piggy-back him, then possibly get shipped back to Omaha following the game to make room for Brian Duensing, who has an opt-out clause in his contract if he is not on the Major League roster.
Duffy took a step back as a starter last year, posting a 4.35 ERA in 24 starts, leading to a demotion to the pen for the post-season. He has flourished as a reliever, relying more on his fastball. However as a starter, Duffy will have to concentrate more on location. As Kevin Ruprecht put it:
Duffy has great stuff - the velocity is there with his rising fastball, which generates popups. The changeup has the velocity differential and movement to be an average pitch (it seems to me). He's got breaking balls. None of it is working together.
There is the concept in pitching of tunneling - you try to get your pitches to look the same up to a certain point, after which they diverge. The idea is that hitters have less time to decipher what is coming at them if everything is coming through a narrow tunnel. Based on where Duffy locates his pitches, I don't think there is any sort of tunneling going on. The fastball and changeup are not up and away. The breaking ball is not starting away and coming back in. It's starting over the middle and coming in further.
The Braves send out Matt Wisler, a promising young right-hander acquired from the Padres in the Craig Kimbrel deal last year. He was a top 75 prospect before last year, and has a 3.27 ERA this year in seven games, despite an underwhelming strikeout rate of 5.4 per nine innings.
It is "Dressed to the Nines Day" so looks for well-dressed Royals fans around the stadium. Lorenzo Cain gets the day off, so Alex Gordon gets bumped up in the lineup.