Pitching Perspectives (6/8-6/14)

Was this the week of the long awaited turnaround?  After 2 straight weeks of 1-5, the Royals bounced back to go 4-2.  It was their first winning week since early May.  They are now 28-34 and remain 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

7.0

4

0

0

3

11

0

115

0.00

1.00

Zack Greinke

7.1

6

3

3

3

6

0

116

3.68

1.23

Luke Hochevar

9.0

3

1

1

1

3

1

80

1.00

0.44

Kyle Davies

5.0

2

3

3

5

1

0

100

5.40

1.40

Brian Bannister

5.0

4

4

1

3

5

0

97

 

 

 

8.0

4

1

0

1

4

0

108

0.69

0.92

Totals:

41.1

23

12

8

16

30

1

 

1.74

0.94

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
Week 8: 4.75 ERA and 1.44 WHIP
Week 9: 6.17 ERA and 1.71 WHIP

Four quality starts out of six is a good way to start righting the ship.  This week, the rotation turned in their best collective effort in terms of both ERA and WHIP.  I don’t want to celebrate too much over the results since they faced the last place Cleveland Indians and the offensively challenged Cincinnati Reds, who were without Joey Votto.  Still, a 4-2 week is far better than another 1-5 week regardless of the opponents.  This week also marked the first time since week 5 that the staff, rotation and bullpen, pitched well together.

Meche and Bannister were brilliant, and Greinke pitched better than his 3 ER in 7.1 IP would suggest.  Kyle Davies wasn’t exactly on, but he stuck around and did enough to help the Royals win the game.  His rough outing shouldn’t come as a complete shock after throwing 240 pitches over his previous two starts.

The star of the week was of course Luke Hochevar who threw a 3 hit complete game gem.  He only walked one and had the Reds hitters pounding the ball into the ground.  This was the kind of performance I envisioned and hoped for when he was drafted.  Being able to turn in starts like the last 2 helps to justify his 1st overall pick ability, but whether or not he can justify the status of that pick will be determined in his consistency.  As amazing as his 80 pitch CG was to watch, I’d much rather see him turn in 15-20 outings like the one he lad last week.  Either way Hochevar seems like he is settling into the rotation and we could be witnessing the maturation of another young Royals stud to go along with Zack Greinke.  Like Greinke and Davies, Hochevar is only 25.  In fact their birthdays are all within a month and half of each other.  What does that mean? Not a damn thing, but I thought it was kind of cool so I thought I’d pass it along.  If you read my stuff routinely, you know I am a big Kyle Davies fan, and Zack’s potential has been evident from day 1.  If Luke Hochevar can turn into a semblance of the pitcher that has taken the mound the last two starts, the future sure looks a lot brighter today than it did last week.  If all three of them can stay together and pitch at a better than major league average level anything they can get in the coming years from their prospects like Crow, Melville, Montgomery, and Duffy is just an added bonus. The continued improvement of Zack, Kyle, and Luke also could provide Dayton Moore the ability to trade some of their minor-league currency to improve the offense at the ML level in the coming years.  It is far too early to start getting giddy about all of this, but the 2010 trade deadline could prove to be very exciting for Royals fans if the team is in a shopping mood.  As Royals fans we’ve been looking 2-3, sometimes 4-5, years down the road for a long time now.  Maybe this time 2-3 years will actually turn out to be 2-3 years.

The Bullpen:

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

WHIP

John Bale (L)

2.1

2

0

0

0

4

0

0.00

0.86

Roman Colon (R)

3.0

2

0

0

0

2

0

0.00

0.67

Juan Cruz (R)

1.1

2

3

3

1

1

0

20.30

2.26

Kyle Farnsworth (R)

1.0

2

1

1

1

1

0

9.00

3.00

Ron Mahay (L)

1.0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0.00

0.00

Joakim Soria (R)

2.1

2

1

1

1

3

1

3.86

1.29

Jamey Wright (R)

0.2

1

1

1

0

0

1

13.43

1.49

Totals:

11.2

11

6

6

3

11

2

4.62

1.20

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
Week 8: 9.50 ERA and 2.22 WHIP
Week 9: 4.50 ERA and 1.07 WHIP

Once again the bullpen turned in a decent week, but on an individual basis it was feast or famine for the group.  Bale, Colon, and Mahay were good.  Soria was far shakier than his pitching line would suggest, but he wasn’t terrible.  Juan Cruz and Jamey Wright were junk.  Kyle Farnsworth continued to prove that his value is strictly as a middle reliever.  He is never going to be able to live up to the contract that Dayton Moore gave him, but that’s on Dayton.  Kyle takes the ball, does his best, and when used in low-leverage situations he is a very valuable member of the bullpen.

The 3.67 SO/BB, 8.48 SO/9 and solid 1.20 WHIP are numbers in line with what I expected from the bullpen when the season started.  In fact we have to go back to the opening week of the season to find a week where they put up similar numbers in those categories.  A 4.62 ERA doesn’t look all that great, but the pen pitched a lot better than that number would suggest.

The real question is can the pitching staff do it again in the upcoming week?  I don’t think the rotation can duplicate the week they just turned in, but the bullpen is capable of continued improvement.

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

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