The Royals returned to their winning ways Thursday afternoon by defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 3-1 at Surprise, Arizona.
Pitchers Chris Young and Travis Wood both made strong opening statements in their contest to win the no. 5 starter job for the KC Royals. Young started the game and pitched two scoreless innings with two strikeouts. Meanwhile, Wood also tossed two innings, but he gave up one run while striking out a pair.
After the game, Young told MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan:
"“I just tried to establish my fastball command,” Young said. “Just compete. That’s it.“Slider was good. Fastball command was pretty good. Good day to get my feet wet. Everybody seemed to pitch well today.”"
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The most encouraging sign from the day was Chris Young‘s performance, Young’s 3.06 ERA in 2015 played a key role in helping Kansas City take the 2015 World Series title. He both filled starting and long-relief roles as a useful spare part for the pitching staff. However, he crashed to a 6.19 ERA in 2016 after suffering a forearm injury early in the season.
Young had problems giving up he gopher ball, allowing a ludicrous 28 home runs in only 88.2 innings pitched. Apparently, the forearm injury harmed the movement on both his fastball and slider. Now 37 years old, Young figures to contribute as a long reliever. But, he could take over the no. 5 rotation spot with a strong showing in Arizona.
If Young can recapture his 2015 form, it would go a long way toward solidifying the KC Royals pitching staff.
Yesterday, Nate Karns pitched well in his first appearance this spring. Now, Chris Young and Travis Wood also impressed on Thursday. If all three continue to pitch well, it bodes well for both the no. 5 rotation spot and the bullpen’s long relief corps.