Royals’ Kowar hopes to learn from first start

Jacob Lang
St. Joseph News-Press
Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Jackson Kowar (37) delivers a pitch during the first inning against the Los Angeles Angels Monday at Angel Stadium. Kowar, who was roughed up for four runs while getting just two outs in his major league debut, will make his second start Saturday at Oakland.

Coming into the week, expectations were high as the Kansas City Royals' top pitching prospect Jackson Kowar was set to make his major league debut. 

Kowar toed the rubber for the Royals on the road against the Los Angeles Angels. The young righty said there was a lot of adrenaline going into the start of the game, but it didn't exactly go as planned. 

"The heart rate came down a little bit, just trying to make pitches," Kowar said, "and it just came down to me not really executing." 

The day he'd dreamed of quickly became the stuff of nightmares, as the Angels teed off on Kowar and knocked him out of the game before he could finish an inning. 

Kowar started off on the right foot, getting former All-Star Justin Upton to ground out to start the bottom of the first. 

The wheels began to fall off when Shohei Ohtani stepped into the box in the No. 2 hole. Kowar walked the Japanese star on five pitches. Ohtani then advanced to second on a wild pitch from Kowar, the first of three in the inning. 

A single from Anthony Rendon got the Angels on the board and opened the floodgates, and Kowar would never be able to recover. 

One more walk and two more base hits would plate three more for a total of four runs scored, and Royals manager Mike Matheny had seen enough. Kowar was pulled just two-thirds of an inning into his debut. 

"I hated to take him out right there," Matheny said. "He was throwing fine, just thought there'd be some more time, and I'm not gonna put him in a spot to where we can potentially put him in harm." 

Despite a rough first outing, Matheny said he still has faith in the rookie's ability on the mound. 

"I told him on the mound, 'That stuff looks good. That stuff's going to be in this game for a long time,'" Matheny said. "He's not gonna have another one like that, I'm confident of that." 

Even after struggling, Kowar said he hopes he can look back positively on his first experience pitching in the big leagues. 

"Obviously frustrated with the way it went out there (Monday)," Kowar said. "It happened fast, and I tried to soak in as much as I could, and hopefully we'll look back and it'll be a good story." 

Kowar's next start is scheduled for Saturday against the Oakland Athletics.