Eric Skoglund
Skoglund faces difficult task of topping debut against Indians Sunday
Eric Skoglund

Skoglund faces difficult task of topping debut against Indians Sunday

Published Jun. 3, 2017 8:53 p.m. ET

After throwing 6 1/3 scoreless innings in his MLB debut on Tuesday, Eric Skoglund will return to the mound and face the Cleveland Indians on Sunday.

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Eric Skoglund, the second chapter, will unfold Sunday.

Skoglund will make his second big league start against the Cleveland Indians (28-26), who will counter with right-hander Trevor Bauer in the series finale at Kauffman Stadium.

Skoglund's major league debut could not have gone much better. He allowed two hits, walked one and struck out five over 6 1/3 scoreless innings as Kansas City (24-30) beat the Detroit Tigers 1-0 on Tuesday.

"I've seen a lot of guys make their major league debut," Royals manager Ned Yost said. "That could be the best I've ever seen. You just don't know what to expect in a situation like that."

Skoglund exited to a booming standing ovation as he doffed his cap in appreciation.

Could the 24-year-old left-hander have a better outing?

"They can always be better, you know, but I try not to look at that," Skoglund said. "The last start is in the past, so I'm just trying to focus on Sunday's game and help this team win.

"Not much difference (from my first start). I'm just going to go out there and compete and try to execute some pitches and give this team a chance to win."


Skoglund, a 2014 third-round draft pick out of the University of Central Florida, was pretty much an unknown, even to the Royals big league staff, when he started against Detroit. He was a non-roster invitee to spring training, but because of an injury did not pitch in an exhibition game before being sent to the minor league camp.

Video of Skoglund's performance against the Tigers has certainly been distributed to the Indians, who will have more knowledge at their feet.

"I don't worry about much of that," Skoglund said. "I just see the signs and kind of go with it. Salvy (catcher Salvador Perez) does a great job behind the plate. He knows a lot of these hitters. As long as I execute and keep the ball down and get ahead of guys, I'll be alright."

Bauer has overpowering stuff, as Oakland will attest. He struck out a career-high 14 Athletics in his previous start on Tuesday to pick up a victory.

This will be Bauer's eighth career start against the Royals. He is 1-2 with a 3.56 ERA against Kansas City. He has posted a quality start in each of his last four outings against the Royals.

He made one start last season against the Royals on Oct. 1 at Kauffman Stadium. He gave up three runs on six hits over six innings in a no-decision. He struck out nine and walked two.

While none of the Indians have faced Skoglund, some Royals have had a plethora of at-bats against Bauer. Perez is 3 for 16 (.188) and Alex Gordon is 2 for 12 (.167) vs. Bauer. Eric Hosmer and Alcides Escobar have had success against him. Hosmer is 5 for 14 (.357) with a home run, while Escobar is 6 for 18 (.333). Lorenzo Cain is 4 for 15 (.267) with a home run.

Whit Merrifield, who takes a major league leading 18-game hitting streak into the game, has one hit in three at-bats against Bauer.

Bauer is 2-3 with a 6.51 ERA in six road starts this season.

The defending American League champions are attempting to find their groove and sit at 28-26 one third of the way through the season.

"You get into the grind of the season, and that's where you find out how good you can be," Indians manager Terry Francona told reporters. "Some of the abnormalities are gone because it's not the first two weeks of the season."


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