There may not be a worse feeling in sports than what a pitcher feels as they’re being absolute rocked. The Royals have experienced that a few times. We all remember Jeremy Guthrie’s 11-run first inning at Yankee Stadium back in 2015. Not to be out-done, Edinson Volquez threw maybe the worst inning in baseball history back a year later in one of the worst starts in baseball history.
Two of the worst starts in Major League history completed by pitchers on the same team, just a season apart. The Royals have always had a knack of sucking in spectacular fashion.They even have a history of Opening Day misery, with Luke Hochevar’s infamous 2012 Home Opener where he gave up seven runs in the first inning.
Brad Keller’s Opening Day start last Thursday wasn’t quite as bad as those first two. However, his name might have been etched next to Hochevar’s in Royals folklore had the Kansas City offense not immediately responded to the five runs he gave up in the 1st inning with five runs of their own.
All in all, Keller gave up six earned runs while recording just four outs in a no-decision. He gave up a whopping nine hits and two walks while failing to strike out a Rangers batter. Luckily, his counterpart Kyle Gibson managed to record just a single out and the Royals won 14-10 in a 4.5 hour marathon.
As noted by our own David Lesky, it was a historically bad start for Keller, but also very much an outlier for his career.
Keller gave up more than six hits in a game once last year. He’s given up seven in the first today.— David Lesky (@DBLesky) April 1, 2021
A week later, Keller will look to rebound against a White Sox team that he didn’t face a single time in 2020 and has been decimated with injuries in 2021. Chicago entered 2021 as an up-and-coming team after its first postseason appearance since 2008. While the Twins were favored nearly unanimously to win their third consecutive AL Central title, the White Sox were still viewed by many as a potential postseason team.
However, they lost Eloy Jimenez for 4-6 months to a freak pectoral injury (which also led to a very weird tribute) near the end of Spring Training and then promptly placed Tim Anderson on the 10-day IL with a strained hamstring during their opening. They limp into this series at 3-4, but send Lance Lynn to the mound after throwing 4.2 scoreless innings against the Angels in his White Sox debut last week.
Lynn was dominant in his two seasons with the Rangers, logging a 142 ERA+ in 46 starts before signing a 3-year, $30 million contract with Chicago in the offseason. He’ll get to introduce himself to White Sox fans properly in the team’s home opener.
Kansas City also looks to exercise their Chicago demons after going 1-9 against the South Siders in 2020. They finished 25-25 against every other baseball team they faced.
Here are your lineups for another afternoon Royals baseball game: