April’s Top Performances
The first thing that pops out about the month of April is the absolute dearth of great offensive performances. It’s not hard to understand why when you see the Kansas City Royals had a putrid 7-16 record in the opening month. That includes nine straight losses to end the month.
The ironic thing, especially given that awful mark, is that there were plenty of great pitching performances in April. In fact, the four we settled on all occurred on the first homestand of the season—all within the same week.
Jason Vargas on April 13 vs. Athletics
The Kansas City Royals entered this game with a 2-6 record and consecutive losses to open up their first homestand. That’s when Jason Vargas gave a glimpse of what his 2017 season would be like, particularly the first half.
Facing Oakland, Vargas spun 7 2/3 scoreless innings in the 3-1 win. The lefty struck out eight against four hits and one walk. It set off a remarkable run of starting pitching performances.
Danny Duffy on April 14 vs. Angels
Good pitching can be just as contagious as good hitting. Danny Duffy showed that when he metaphorically took the ball from Vargas to start the next night against the Angels.
The team’s unquestioned ace allowed a single run over seven frames. Not quite as flawless as Vargas had been, Duffy allowed three hits and two walks against six strikeouts in a 7-1 victory.
Ian Kennedy on April 16 vs. Angels
After a quality start by Nate Karns on April 15, Ian Kennedy continued the superb run of Kansas City Royals pitching the following day. It shows even bad players can have good games every now and then.
In undoubtedly his best start of the season, Kennedy struck out 10 over eight shutout innings. In a 1-0 win, the overpaid righty gave up just two hits and two walks.
Vargas on April 19 vs. Giants
This time around he was just as good against another Bay Area opponent in a 2-0 win. Against the Giants, Vargas punched out nine, walked none and allowed just four hits over seven scoreless frames.