Who do you think the hottest pitchers are thus far this season? If you weren’t following baseball yet, the most logical guess would be Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, or maybe Jake Arrieta. While Kershaw and Arrieta have been dishing it out and pitching beautifully. There are a couple of pitchers playing in tonight’s Tigers and Royals game which have bested all three of them. The one name is recognizable, but still you probably didn’t guess it, and the other has come out of the woods to pitch some of the best baseball of his career, albeit with only two starts under his belt in 2016.
The Royals took a flier on him in the offseason, and now he’s playing lights out on the mound. Not to say this is going to last through the summer, but Ian Kennedy and the Royals are enjoying what he’s done so far. We’ll see how long this is going to go for, because not anybody saw his season playing out the way it has. And oddly enough, Kennedy has done this by coming from the National League to pitch in the American League. Usually pitching numbers go down in that scenario. But there is not nearly enough of a sample size on him to indicate this start for him is for real.
Jordan Zimmermann has been having some success with his new team as well. This is Zimmermanns first season with the Tigers, as they went after him to beef up their rotation. They have had some nice hurlers in their rotation over the past several years, some who have gotten away. Notably, Max Scherzer and David Price. You look back and think, wow, how didn’t the Tigers win a World Series with the talent they’ve had? There is still plenty of it here on the current roster, so they have to keep plugging away and hope it comes together for them.
The AL Central wasn’t nearly as competitive for the Tigers when the Royals were irrelevant, but now that they are World Series’ champions, the division is no easy walk in the park anymore. The Royals took last night, fending off a late surge by the Tigers to win 8-6. Back to Kansas City tonight, where a couple of new pitchers get their chance to shine, something they’ve been doing up to this point.
Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals
Jordan Zimmermann (2-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Ian Kennedy (2-0, 0.66 ERA)
Miguel Cabrera uncharacteristically looked lost at the plate last night. He failed to come up big in big spots, striking out four times, which dashed the hope they had of coming back from 8-2. Cabrera has gone deep since opening day. Get this, Miggy and Mike Trout Combined only have 2 home runs. I expect that to change, but who would have thought Ian Kennedy would be having a better season than Migeul Cabrera, Mike Trout, and Zack Greinke. Jordan Zimmermann will hope to outduel Kennedy Tonight. Zimmermann hasn’t allowed 1 run yet this season, and he owns a solid 1.00 WHIP. He is earning his paycheck with the Tigers. Other than Zimmermann, I am not too excited about anything else the Detroit rotation has to offer. Justin Verlander has his days, but he is not nearly as proficient as years ago.
I faded Kennedy in his last start and I came up with nothing. Kennedy pitched well in his opener against the Twins, allowing no runs and 5 hits. He followed it up against the Astros with a 1 run outing, the only run coming off a home run. Is he going to continue to pitch like this? He gets a lineup tonight he hasn’t done well against in the past. Kennedy has been hit for a 5.71 ERA and 1.33 WHIP. This looks like a good spot for him to get roughed up, in his third start of the season. Zimmermann at plus-money, or close to even, looks like a bargain to me.
PICK: TIGERS TO WIN +102