Entering his Tuesday-afternoon start against the Brewers, Kansas City's Bruce Chen had pitched 12 innings and given up 21 runs. Which, you might think, called into question his status as the Royals' No. 1 starting pitcher.
But Chen got a new contract this winter for two years and $9 million, and the plan all along was for the club's highest-paid starting pitcher to start on Opening Day. And after six-plus decent innings against the Brewers, it's official:
#Royals MGR Yost tells media postgame Bruce Chen will start opener followed by Hochevar and Sanchez.— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) March 27, 2012
Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Sanchez, Bruce Chen ... The Opening Day starter is sort of irrelevant, generally. And specifically, there's not any real qualitative difference between the Royals' three top starters. They're all decent, good enough to start for most teams but hardly with ace potential.
If you're looking for someone to surprise us, your best candidate is probably Hochevar. But the Royals are going to give up five runs in a lot of games this season.