4.) Eric Skoglund Debut
Skoglund’s chances of winning his debut—more or less keeping his side in the contest—seemed slim, at best. But sometimes it favors a pitcher facing hitters for the first time. That seemed to be the case on May 30.
Over 6 1/3 scoreless innings, Skoglund shined. He struck out five—highlighted by a three-pitch strikeout of Cabrera—while giving up two hits and walking one. The sterling effort was needed with Verlander almost flawless, as well.
The Kansas City Royals only managed to push across one run in the game. However, Hosmer’s RBI-single in the sixth inning proved to be enough to earn a 1-0 win. Skoglund’s hat tip to the Kauffman Stadium crowd upon being lifted in the seventh inning will long be remembered.
The remainder of Skoglund’s time with the Royals this season went about as well as one would expect from a rookie. Despite finishing the year with a 9.50 ERA, nobody will ever be able to take away Skoglund’s amazing debut.
If it had been a sign of things to come, it’s possible this performance would have moved higher up the list. Then again, the top three are virtual no-brainers.