RC breaks down Chris Dwyer's last start

Chris Dwyer heads to the mound today against Arkansas, looking to build upon a couple of excellent outings. Royals Corner was in Springfield earlier this week, where we saw him make his fourth start of the season against the Cardinals on Tuesday. Inside, read our report on Dwyer's outing.

Despite turning in his second straight "quality start," Chris Dwyer was tagged with his second loss of the season in the nightcap of Tuesday evening's doubleheader, which the Naturals lost to the Cardinals, 3-2. The 23-year-old southpaw gave up three runs (one earned) in six innings of work, surrendering just three hits and one walk while fanning four (Click here for Tuesday's Farm Report).

Dwyer ran into a little trouble in the first inning. After coaxing Springfield's leadoff hitter into a groundout to short, he issued a walk to shortstop Ryan Jackson. Matthew Adams then grounded a curveball into right field for a double, and Jackson came around to score on an RBI groundout to short.

The two unearned runs came in the third inning. After retiring the leadoff man on a groundout to second base, Thomas Pham hit a double to left. Dwyer struck out the next batter with a 91 mph fastball, and he coaxed Matthew Adams into a harmless-looking bouncer to short that should have ended the inning.

Unfortunately, Naturals shortstop Christian Colon fumbled the ball for his first error of the season, and the inning continued. Alex Castellanos then sent a high line drive to deep center that Derrick Robinson couldn't flag down, and both runners scored on the two-run triple.

Dwyer has allowed just six hits and two earned runs over his last 12.0 innings pitched.

Dwyer settled down after that, retiring the final 10 batters he faced in order. He threw 59 of his 97 pitches for strikes.

"He pitched behind early, but I thought that as the game went on his stuff got better," said Naturals manager Brian Poldberg in an interview with Royals Corner.

Indeed, Dwyer didn't seem bothered much by the weather, and he breezed through the final three frames. His fastball velocity sat at 90-92 mph all night, topping out a couple of times at 93 mph. He also flashed his plus curveball several times, which he was throwing between 77-80 mph. When that pitch was on, it was really good, but he also spun a few that stayed up in the zone.

"He didn't have his good breaking ball last night, but his fastball command was better," said Poldberg.

Dwyer only threw a couple of changeups on the night, which sat in the low-80s; he stuck primarily with his fastball/curveball combination. Of his four strikeouts, three came on fastballs, while the other was on a nasty curveball that Springfield third baseman Niko Vasquez waved helplessly at.

All told, it was a reasonably impressive outing for the young left-hander. He clearly didn't have his best stuff, and the weather conditions (wet, windy, and cold) were miserable, but despite all that, he battled through and gave the Naturals a chance to win the game. Perhaps equally impressive, he showed relatively little rust despite having not pitched in seven days, due to the rainouts that plagued the Texas League last week.

Dwyer (1-2, 4.19) is scheduled to make his fifth start of the season on Sunday afternoon against the Arkansas Travelers.

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