The two southpaws who took the mound for their respective teams to start Saturday night’s baseball match between the KC Royals and Yankees in Kansas City are at much different points in their career arcs. But both have struggled to begin their 2015 seasons.
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NY’s 34-year-old former Cy Young award winner CC Sabathia (heavy emphasis on former) began the game with a 1-5 record and a 5.20 ERA, while his 26-year-old talented yet under-achieving counterpart — KC’s Danny Duffy — has battled his old demons lack of control and loss of composure nearly all season to the tune of a 5.67 ERA, with two straight disastrous starts.
CC has amassed an impressive list of accomplishments through a stellar 15-year, hall-of-fame caliber career. Two-hundred plus wins. Six All-Star games. $200M+ career earnings. And tonight, he pitched like a wiley veteran with plenty left in the tank, holding the previously red-hot Royals hitters to only six hits (five singles) and one run over seven innings. He struck out five and walked none, expending only 87 pitches on the night.
Duffy, by contrast, continued his early-season slump, giving up four walks, four hits, and four runs over just five innings of work on 113 pitches. The biggest hit came off the bat of Yankees 3rd baseman Chase Headley. With two out and two on in the top of the fifth in a 1-1 game, and despite wobbling several times during his outing, Duffy was one pitch away from a decent start. But instead Headley blasted one into the left-field bullpen, and that was pretty much that.
What a difference a night can make. Friday night’s potent seventeen-hit/12-run explosion was a distant memory, as the Royals instead looked meek as kittens tonight.
One interesting sidenote: Veteran reclamation project Joe Blanton made his Royals debut out of the bullpen. He gave up five hits and a run in four innings, and kept his team within striking distance while allowing the remainder of KC’s valuable relief corps a night of rest.
Oh well. Can’t win ’em all. The game of baseball is nowhere near as easy as these Royals have made it look so far in 2015. Sunday is the rubber game, and KC can still salvage a series victory with a win.