To no one’s surprise, Danny Duffy will get the Opening Day assignment for the Royals, as announced by manager Ned Yost today. Duffy will start at home against the Chicago White Sox on March 29. It will be his second consecutive Opening Day assignment, the first Royals pitcher to get back-to-back Opening Day starts since James Shields in 2013-2014, and the first lefty since Bud Black in 1984-1986.
Ned Yost was asked why Danny Duffy is starting opening day: “Just go back to the Twitters or Tweeties or wherever ... “ pic.twitter.com/cr5cRO3J4L— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) March 15, 2018
Yost also announced Ian Kennedy will start the second game, but that the rest of the rotation is “tentative.” Jason Hammel is expected to be the #3 starter, with Jakob Junis and Nate Karns the favorites to fill out the rotation. Wily Peralta, Eric Skoglund, Trevor Oaks, and Ricky Nolasco are potential contenders as well.
Duffy was 9-10 with a 3.81 ERA and 3.46 FIP in 24 starts last year. He will be looking to make 30 starts in a season for the first time in his career. Duffy signed a five-year, $65 million deal with the Royals before the start of last season. On Opening Day of that season, Duffy allowed just three hits and one run over six innings of work with eight strikeouts in a 7-1 loss to the Twins in Minnesota.
The Royals may not be a World Series contender this year, but the days of them starting Scott Elarton, Jose Lima, Runelvys Hernandez, or Bruce Chen on Opening Day are thankfully over. Danny Duffy gives the Royals a legitimate front-line starter that will battle to get the season off to a good start.