When a pitcher steps up against a fairly hard-hitting Detroit Tigers bullpen and pitches over six innings without a score, it’s worth noting. If it happens to be that player’s first night pitching in the Majors, that’s a true head-turner. Nonetheless, that’s what happened when Kansas City Royals rookie pitcher Eric Skoglund took the mound on Tuesday night. As a result, Eric Skoglund’s phenomenal debut against Detroit has earned him a starting spot on the mound in the upcoming series against the Cleveland Indians.
In a report in the Kansas City Star, Kansas City Royals Manager Ned Yost confirmed the decision to start Eric Skoglund against Cleveland on Wednesday night. Ned Yost shared enthusiasm for Skoglund’s performance against Detroit, as well as attempting to keep the rookie grounded for the upcoming role against Cleveland.
“I told him today: ‘You did an awesome job last night. But don’t expect it to be as easy as it was last night every time you step out there, alright? You made it look easy. But just make sure you understand, it’s not that easy. It was a magical night for you.'”
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) May 31, 2017
It’s easy to get caught up in the buzz surrounding Skoglund. The rookie didn’t come into an easy match-up on Tuesday. He was opposite of MLB All-Stars like the opposing Detroit pitcher, Justin Verlander, and started his night against none other than Detroit veteran hitter Miguel Cabrera. Cabrera gave Skoglund a light thumbs-up to start their showdown and then Skoglund was off to the races. Cabrera was allowed to walk and Victor Martinez started with a single before Eric Skoglund proceeded to baffle the Detroit bullpen with stunning 14 consecutive retired batters. He marched off the field proudly with a Detroit shutout while Royals veteran Eric Hosmer delivered the run that would win the Royals the game at 1-0 that night.
Eric Skoglund’s victory debut over the Detroit Tigers comes at a very timely moment as well when the Royals’ pitching rotation is in a bit of a bind. The usual starter, Nathan Karns, is on the Royals disabled list with an elbow injury following his last start against the Minnesota Twins on May 19, according to Royals Review. Karns had been a centerpiece of Royals pitching, throwing a career-high 12 strikeout night on Mothers Day against the Baltimore Orioles. That said, during the announcement to start Skoglund, Ned Yost also mentioned that Karns had still been feeling discomfort in his throwing arm, ensuring he won’t see any action until he can finish physical rehab.
The timing is ripe for Skoglund. He has shown his chops with a strong left arm that can get the job done. That said, he’s coming up against the Cleveland Indians, who are neck and neck with the Minnesota Twins for first place in the American League Central Division. The last series saw the Royals come out ahead two games to one, but Cleveland pummeled Kansas City for a 10-1 win in the third game. As the Cleveland Indians look to finish their current business with the Oakland Athletics following a frustrating loss on Wednesday, they are assuredly looking to take Kansas City to task for a winning series this time around.
Eric Skoglund has put the dream start under his belt in the Major Leagues. Only a select group of pitchers will ever get to boast that they started their first big debut leaving the mound with zero runs against them in over six innings. In his one game, Skoglund put up numbers that would make any Royals fan swoon. With that big night behind him and many more ahead of him, It will be interesting to see what Skoglund brings to the latest engagement between the Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Indians in his second debut.
[Featured Image by Brian Davidson/Getty Images]