Try as I might, I cannot shake the image of Hisashi Iwakuma going head-to-head with a Looney Tunes character today.
Far from a cartoon, unfortunately, Danny Duffy is a 25-year-old southpaw fighting for a spot in the Royals' rotation this year. He underwent Tommy John surgery in 2012 and worked his way back to the majors after a lengthy rehab assignment with the club's Double-A and Triple-A affiliates in 2013. This spring, he's made just one start so far, lasting four innings against the Tigers with two hits, four walks, and two strikeouts in a 9-2 loss. Per the Kansas City Star, Duffy is expected to be a short-term solution to the Royals' rotation, as left-hander Bruce Chen has been sidelined with a back injury until at least May 17.
Tonight will mark Iwakuma's first start at home this year. He notched his first win against the Astros last Saturday in a 9-8 nailbiter, going 6 2/3 innings with six hits, a walk, a home run, and three strikeouts. It wasn't a shabby start for the 33-year-old's return to the majors, and neither Lloyd McClendon nor Iwakuma seemed to feel that the injury had set him back at all. As he told the Seattle Times' Ryan Divish after the outing:
"I was able to pitch well and I was able to command both sides of the plate with all of my pitches," he said. "I left a couple pitches up, and they took advantage of them."
Despite leading off in both games of the doubleheader yesterday, Michael Saunders has been penciled in the leadoff spot again today. It will be his ninth consecutive game at the top of the lineup.
- Mariners vs. Royals, 7:10 p.m. PST
- Tonight's game will be televised on ROOT Sports, broadcast on 710 ESPN, and available for out-of-market fans on MLB TV here.
|KANSAS CITY ROYALS||SEATTLE MARINERS|
|Norichika Aoki - RF||Michael Saunders - CF|
|Eric Hosmer - 1B||Stefen Romero - RF|
|Billy Butler - DH||Robinson Cano - 2B|
|Salvador Perez - C||Corey Hart - DH|
|Alex Gordon - LF||Justin Smoak - 1B|
|Danny Valencia - 2B||Kyle Seager - 3B|
|Lorenzo Cain - CF||Cole Gillespie - LF|
|Mike Moustakas - 3B||Brad Miller - SS|
|Alcides Escobar - SS||Mike Zunino - C|
|Danny Duffy - LHP||Hisashi Iwakuma - RHP|