This is a feature I'll try to keep up throughout the year in which I'll take a look at the Royals starting pitching every five games. The rotation is of course the biggest question mark and potential crux on which this team's fate depends. The lineup, defense and bullpen are all at least solid on paper. The rotation faltering would probably render those elements meaningless, while an average rotation could vault this team into .500 territory, and a couple of breakout performances between Hochevar, Sanchez, Mendoza and Duffy could even mean contention. They are a fascinating group in that they have the potential to be anywhere from absolutely terrible to pretty good.
The first trip through the rotation could hardly have been more encouraging. Like the children of Lake Wobegon, they were all above average. All five hurlers went at least five innings, had a game score over 50 and a positive win probability added. (Royals starters put together game scores over 50 for five consecutive games only twice all last season.) No batters were hit and no dingers were allowed. Even after four solid starts, the best was saved for last with a dynamic performance by Duffman last night.