Pitching Perspectives (6/15-6/21)

Last week I led off with the question, “was this the week of the long awaited turnaround?”  After their third 1-5 week out of four, we now know the answer to that question.  The Royals didn’t just go 1-5; they went 1-5 with a resounding thud.  After taking the first game of the week 5-0 behind the complete game shutout of Gil Meche, they proceeded to drop the next 5.  Actually it’s a little generous to say they “dropped” the next 5.  In reality they lost 53-21 over those games.  To make matters worse, this past weekend the Royals looked like nothing more than a minor league team against our hated in-state rival St. Louis Cardinals. 

Kansas City now sits at 29-39 and 8.5 games back of the 1st place Detroit Tigers.  Thanks to the Cleveland Indians losing 6 games in a row, the Royals remain in 4th place 1.5 games ahead of the Tribe for last place.  Not even playing the National League can save the Royals right now.  Cripes!

The Rotation:

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC

ERA

WHIP

Gil Meche

9.0

4

0

0

1

6

0

132

X

X

 

3.1

9

9

9

2

1

2

75

6.57

1.30

Zack Greinke

6.2

8

6

4

2

9

1

115

5.40

1.50

Luke Hochevar

4.0

9

7

6

2

3

0

95

13.50

2.75

Kyle Davies

2.2

9

8

7

2

2

3

58

23.60

4.12

Brian Bannister

8.0

6

3

2

0

4

1

86

2.25

0.75

Totals:

33.2

45

33

28

9

25

7

 

7.48

1.60

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
Week 10: 1.74 ERA and 0.94 WHIP

For the first time all season, the rotation’s weekly ERA topped 7.00.  Their 1.60 WHIP was the third worst they’ve had this year.  Much has been made about Meche topping 132 pitches in his first start during the week.  I’m not a huge pitch count guy on a start to start basis, but pitch counts over longer stretches are something to pay attention to.  People give too much attention to the start that immediately follows a high pitch count outing.  It is in fact the second start after a high pitch count that should be tracked more closely.  In the case of Gil Meche, it wasn’t just that he threw 132 pitched in his first start this week.  He also threw 115 pitches in the start that preceded that one.  That 115 pitch outing (7 IP, 4 H, 0 ER, 1 BB, 11 SO) was almost as good as this week’s complete game.  After 247 pitches over 2 games, he was bombed in his second start of the week.  Meche now has a 4.11 ERA, 1.41 WHIP, and 2.06 K/BB on the year.

Soren Petro had an interesting stat about pitch counts on his show today.  When Royals starters throw 115, or more, pitches in back-to-back starts this season, their ERA in their next start is over 11.00.  Zack Greinke will be battling that stat when he next takes the mound after throwing 116 and 115 pitches in his last 2 starts.  If anyone can buck the trend it’s Zack, but there is definitely a trend in play here that goes beyond just the Royals. Zack put in another solid effort this week and now has a 1.96 ERA, 1.02 WHIP, and stellar 5.89 K/BB on the season.

The star of the week goes to Gil Meche on the merits of his first start, but Brian Bannister deserves honorable mention.  BB is starting to change my mind about him.  I’m not completely there yet, and still believe he is pitching over his head, but if he does this the rest of year, I will gladly admit I was wrong about him.  Bannister now has a 3.89 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, and 1.91 K/BB on the year.

Being the president of the Kyle Davies Fan Club, I was sad to see him get sent down, but it had to be done.  I remain confident that he will be a significant contributor in the 2010 rotation, and will probably be back to take his place this season.  Davies leaves the rotation with a 5.76 ERA, 1.53 WHIP, and 1.32 K/BB.  The ability is there.  He just needs to trust his stuff.

That brings us to Luke Hochevar who slipped up after back-to-back starts.  He now has a 6.61 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, and 1.00 K/BB.  It is still early in his career, but we already know that he desperately needs to stay down in the zone to be successful. S ome guys can get away with pitching up from time to time.  Luke is not one of those guys.

The Bullpen:

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

WHIP

John Bale (L)

1.1

1

2

2

1

2

1

13.53

1.50

Season:

 

 

 

 

5

10

 

5.63

1.38

Roman Colon (R)

3.1

5

3

3

0

1

0

8.11

1.50

Season:

 

 

 

 

2

7

 

4.50

1.10

Juan Cruz (R)

3.0

5

2

2

1

2

1

6.00

2.00

Season:

 

 

 

 

17

19

 

5.46

1.46

Kyle Farnsworth (R)

2.1

5

4

3

1

4

0

11.59

2.58

Season:

 

 

 

 

6

25

 

4.24

1.24

Ron Mahay (L)

3.2

4

3

3

0

3

1

7.36

1.09

Season:

 

 

 

 

11

22

 

4.56

1.77

Joakim Soria (R)

2.0

0

0

0

0

2

0

0.00

0.00

Season:

 

 

 

 

6

16

 

1.84

1.09

Robinson Tejeda (R)

0.1

2

2

2

1

1

0

54.55

9.09

Season:

 

 

 

 

14

24

 

3.63

1.67

Jamey Wright (R)

4.1

5

4

3

4

3

1

6.24

2.08

Season:

 

 

 

 

11

23

 

4.55

1.52

Totals:

20.1

27

20

18

8

18

4

7.97

1.72

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
Week 10: 4.62 ERA and 1.20 WHIP

Kyle Farnsworth made 3 appearances during the week.  Stats from his two low-pressure situations: 2 IP, 2 H, 1 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 3 SO.  Stats from his one high-pressure situation with the game on the line: 0.1 IP, 3 H, 3 ER, 0 BB, 1 SO.  In fairness to Kyle, 2 of the 3 ER were allowed to score due to poor relief pitching by John Bale, but Farnsy was the one who let them get on in the first place.

While on the topic of inherited runners, this week the bullpen allowed 9 of 12 inherited runners to score.  Only once did a Royals pitcher enter the game with at least one runner on base and prevent that runner from scoring.  That pitcher was Roman Colon, and Jamey Wright better send him a Christmas card this year.

The full breakdown is as follows:
Robinson Tejeda inherited 1 baserunner from Gil Meche on 6/20 and allowed him to score.
Jamey Wright inherited 3 baserunners from Robinson Tejeda on 6/21 and allowed 2 of them to score.
Ron Mahay inherited 3 baserunners from Roman Colon on 6/17 and allowed all 3 of them to score.
John Bale inherited 2 baserunners from Kyle Farnsworth on 6/20 and allowed both of them to score.
Roman Colon inherited 3 baserunners this week. The 2 he inherited from Jamey Wright on 6/19 did not score. The 1 he inherited from John Bale on 6/17 did in fact score.

If the bullpen is going to let 75% of inherited runners to score, Trey may as well let guys finish their innings unless they get hurt.  I doubt the results could be worse.  Then again, this is the Royals we are talking about.

The only pitcher in the bullpen who had a positive week was Joakim Soria.  He pitched 2.0 innings with 2 strike outs.  Clean innings are an interesting concept.  Hopefully Joakim Soria isn’t tainted by the rest of the pen going forward.

Speaking of the Royals closer, another tidbit I heard on the radio today that bears repeating.  Kansas City has not had a save opportunity since May 24th and has only had 1 save chance in the last 40 games.  The Royals have very few assets to lean on right now, and one of those assets, closer Joakim Soria, can’t get into a meaningful game.

To sum up the week:
Starters (7.48 ERA + 1.60 WHIP) + Bullpen (7.97 ERA + 1.72 WHIP) = 1-5 Record

CRIPES!!!

Topics: AL Central, Baseball, Brian Bannister, Gil Meche, Jamey Wright, Joakim Soria, John Bale, Juan Cruz, Kansas City Royals, KC, Kyle Davies, Kyle Farnsworth, Luke Hochevar, MLB, Robinson Tejeda, Roman Colon, Ron Mahay, Zack Greinke

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  • scottw

    Soria had a close call last night but managed to get some key strikeouts. Which was encouraging. And you were right, Zack was able to buck the trend. Though I was disappointed he didn’t get a hit in any of his 3 ABs.

    I guess the next biggest question is if/how Maier will fill the void Crisp will leave now that he’s out for the season. But I’m guessing you have an article about that in the works already …

  • Wally Fish

    You are very wise scottw. Article about Crisp about to be published.

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