Yesterday’s third game of four between the Kansas City Royals and Toronto Blue Jays came with some compellingly unique question marks attached. Neither starter had more than seven innings of MLB play under his belt prior to today’s game, so fans of either team really didn’t know what to expect.
Aaron Brooks was called up yesterday for his first start in the major leagues. Brooks was known in Omaha for throwing strikes, but his only chance at big-league playing time before today yielded eight runs for the Detroit Tigers in just two innings of relief. The Royals and fans everywhere hoped today would bring a better performance from the young right-hander, but their hopes were sadly all for naught.
A rattled Brooks couldn’t get command any of his pitches today, resulting in a seven-run first inning from which he never escaped. Toronto set a franchise record for consecutive batters to reach base to start a game with eight.
Much like Royals starter Brooks, Marcus Stroman was called up from his club’s AAA affiliate before today’s game. Despite being 5-foot-9 and only spending limited time at Duke as a full-time pitcher, this talented right-handed 2012 draftee is ranked second on Toronto’s list of top prospects for this season. This 23 year-old has enjoyed success in 2014 as a minor league starter posting a 3.03 ERA in seven starts and 35 2/3rds innings as a Buffalo Bison.
Brooks’ scouting report proved accurate today as he limited KC to just one run today, fanning out six and not allowing a walk in six solid innings. He may be ready for a longer stint in the rotation, but Royals fans are left waiting and hoping for good health from the rest of the pitching staff. Clearly, the options for a fill-in starter at this point are far from ideal.
Stroman, on the other hand, looks like he could be legitimate very soon. This isn’t good news for KC, either, since Toronto could easily be a team fighting with the Royals for a Wild Card spot by season’s end. KC once again needs an emotionally uplifting win or wins soon just to keep morale from flat-lining.