Pitching Perspectives (5/25-5/31)

The Royals again finished the week with a 1-5 record. They are now 23-27 and 5.5 games behind the Tigers for 1st place in the division.

The Rotation:

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC

ERA

WHIP

Gil Meche

2.1

6

4

2

3

1

0

73

 

 

 

7.0

5

2

2

2

7

0

103

3.86

1.71

Zack Greinke

9.0

6

1

1

0

8

0

116

 

 

 

7.0

8

4

3

0

7

0

114

2.25

0.88

Kyle Davies

5.2

10

8

5

2

1

2

91

7.94

2.12

Brian Bannister

5.0

9

7

6

1

4

1

87

10.80

2.00

Totals:

36.0

44

26

19

8

28

3

 

4.75

1.44

Week 1: 3.62 ERA and 1.21 WHIP
Week 2: 1.91 ERA and 1.27 WHIP
Week 3: 4.38 ERA and 1.10 WHIP
Week 4: 6.46 ERA and 1.67 WHIP
Week 5: 2.54 ERA and 1.15 WHIP
Week 6: 6.44 ERA and 1.53 WHIP
Week 7: 4.21 ERA and 1.38 WHIP

Gil Meche continued his yo-yo season in week 8. His 1st start of the week had many convinced that his back was bothering him and that he might need a trip to the DL to recover. Gil’s 2nd start of the week had those same people convinced the he was fine and back to the pitcher that finished the 2008 season so strong. The reality is that both opinions may be correct. Those days when his back loosens up and he can pitch freely, we will see the Gil Meche we are used to who is capable of pitching as a top shelf #2 starter. On those days where the back is bothering him we will see the Gil Meche who struggles with his command and labors through anywhere from 4-6 innings. With the current state of the bullpen, the Royals cannot afford any more 2.1 inning outings.

Zack Greinke was masterful in his first start of the week and merely good in his second start. The fact that some folks were disappointed in his 2nd outing shows just how far Greinke has come this season. Zack is the only reliable thing going on the Royals roster these days, but he cannot carry the team to victory on his own. He needs others in the rotation, bullpen, lineup, and in the field to help him out. He also needs the manager to stop getting cute with his defensive alignments, but that is a topic for another day.

After 3 straight quality starts, Kyle Davies was brutal again this week. Like everyone else on the pitching staff not named Greinke or Farnsworth consistency has been the missing ingredient. Davies is now 2-4 with a 5.09 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and 1.64 SO/BB on the season. Those numbers aren’t spectacular, but he has proven he belongs in a ML rotation. He has actually pitched better than last season when he was 9-7 with a 4.06 ERA. Compared to 2008 he currently has a lower WHIP, lower H/9, higher SO/9 and nearly identical SO/BB. He is still only 25 years old and should continue to be counted as part of the Royals future. If Davies makes every scheduled start this season, ends up with more than 175 IP, and shows improvement over last year in his WHIP and other peripheral stats 2009 will be a success for Kyle Davies.

Brian Bannister had his second clunker in 3 starts and I have no idea what he is or what he will be. His success lasted longer than it had in previous seasons so it is hard to say whether he is just in a rough patch that he can get out of, or if he is falling off the cliff like last season.

The Bullpen:

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

WHIP

John Bale (L)

2.0

3

3

3

3

0

0

13.50

3.00

Roman Colon (R)

2.1

1

0

0

1

3

0

0.00

0.86

Juan Cruz (R)

2.2

5

3

3

2

1

0

10.11

2.62

Kyle Farnsworth (R)

1.2

1

0

0

0

2

0

0.00

0.60

Ron Mahay (L)

2.0

5

2

2

1

1

1

9.00

3.00

Sidney Ponson (R)

4.0

8

7

7

1

2

0

15.75

2.25

Horacio Ramirez (L)

0.0

1

0

0

0

0

0

0.00

INF

Jamey Wright (R)

3.1

7

4

4

1

2

0

10.81

2.40

Totals:

18.0

31

19

19

9

11

1

9.50

2.22

Week 1: 2.30 ERA and 0.83 WHIP
Week 2: 5.87 ERA and 1.70 WHIP
Week 3: 3.75 ERA and 1.25 WHIP
Week 4: 2.52 ERA and 1.36 WHIP
Week 5: 1.69 ERA and 1.50 WHIP
Week 6: 2.38 ERA and 1.50 WHIP
Week 7: 8.04 ERA and 2.04 WHIP

Famous last words from last week’s edition, “The only positive is that the bullpen can’t pitch any worse than what we saw this week.” Despite the long odds staring them down, they bullpen took up the challenge and managed to pitch even worse. I stand corrected and humbled. I’d like to make a similar claim for this week, but I’m not about to tempt fate. Kyle Farnsworth and Roman Colon were the only 2 members of the pen to be better than worthless for the week.

It’s not breaking news or anything but Sidney Ponson needs to be off this roster. He was poor in the rotation with a 5.91 ERA, 1.571 WHIP and 1.58 SO/BB in 35.0 IP. In the bullpen there are no words to express how bad he has been. In 8.1 innings over 5 appearances he has a 12.96 ERA, 2.400 WHIP, and 1.00 SO/BB. The only thing Sidney Ponson can do is eat innings but in the bullpen he can’t even do that. The Royals have several options at Triple-A that couldn’t possibly pitch any worse if given the chance. I’m actually starting to miss Yasuhiko Yabuta.

It was a rough week and things will get better, but the team has several flaws that need to be addressed in the offseason. Until Hillman has the good sense to start each game’s lineup with DeJesus, Crisp, and Butler hitting 1-3, he is the first flaw that needs to be corrected. I always felt bad for Buddy Bell because he didn’t have much to work with, but I felt like he at least tried to maximize the pieces that he did have. Trey has more to work with than Buddy ever did yet has done less with more. Trey can’t change the cards he has been dealt at this point, but he can do a better job of playing those cards. The difference in W-L record between the Buddy Bell led Royals and the 2009 Trey Hillman led Royals boils down to Zack Greinke.

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Tags: AL Central Bannister Baseball Davies Greinke Kansas City Royals KC Meche MLB

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