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Apr 4, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (11) pitches against the Chicago White Sox in the first inning at U.S. Cellular Field. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rotation Grade Check

We’re trending towards the end of the school year and that means I’m grading everything in sight. So it’s natural for me to take a look at our starters’ first performances and give them some grades to hopefully send them into a happy summer vacation.

  1. JAMES SHIELDS VS. CWSJames Shields debuted in Chicago and threw to the tune of 6 IP/1 ER/6 SO/0 BB. It was a great first start for the newly-anointed Royals #1 hurler. The only problem was the home run he gave up which ended up being the difference-maker as Chris Sale pitched an even finer game to beat him. (B+)
  2. ERVIN SANTANA VS. CWS – Here lies one of the bigger rotation question marks heading into the season. Will Santana retain some of his former glory….or will he Sanchez us? One start wasn’t and shouldn’t be capable of giving us enough information to determine how Santana will pitch this year, and his final line was a mixed bag. 6 IP/4 ER/8 SO/1 BB. The really annoying part of this game was the fact that Santana gave up 3 home runs. It’s something you don’t expect to see every outing, (I hope I hope) but it’s a little disconcerting nonetheless. However, the 8 strikeouts to 1 walk is somewhat comforting. We will simply have to see how this plays out. (C+)
  3. JEREMY GUTHRIE VS. CWS – Awarded a large contract in the offseason, I wasn’t sure what to expect here, but Guthrie came through in his first start. 6 IP/1 ER/ 9 SO/ 1 BB. The real stand-out here is the 9 strikeouts, which is something I was not expecting out of Guthrie. If this is something he can maintain, that’d be great but I expect something of a regression from that. But I’d take 6 or 7 strikeouts to 1 or 2 walks a game. We need more starts like this out of Jeremy. (B+)
  4. WADE DAVIS VS PHI – An attempt to make Davis a starter after a successful year as a reliever is up in the air and Davis’ first start didn’t exactly inspire confidence. 4 IP/ 4 ER/2 SO/ 0 BB. He gave up two home runs and didn’t last too long, but he only threw 76 pitches so it’s likely that the team didn’t want to stretch him out too much this early in the season (as well as in the cold weather of Philly). (C-)
  5. LUIS MENDOZA VS PHILuis Mendoza was named the 5th starter very late in Spring Training and came out in his first start and showed that he deserves the spot for now. 6 IP/1 ER/7 SO/3 BB. Not a bad line at all, although 3 walks is a little more than I think he needs to be giving up. He only gave up 2 hits though, so I think that evened it out. I’m interested to see if he can keep striking guys out at a high rate. (B)
Grades, grades, grades. Overall, I’m mostly pleased by the our starters’ first turn through the rotation, but as Hunter pointed out this week, you can’t rely on small sample size. Let’s see how these guys do pushing forward.

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