Royals stop bleeding, pitchers determine wins

“The key to winning baseball games is pitching, fundamentals, and three run homers.”

-Earl Weaver

“The only time I really try for a strikeout is when I’m in a jam. If the bases are loaded with none out, for example, then I’ll go for a strikeout. But most of the time I try to throw to spots. I try to get them to pop up or ground out. On a strikeout I might have to throw five or six pitches, sometimes more if there are foul-offs. That tires me. So I just try to get outs. That’s what counts – outs. You win with outs, not strikeouts.”

-Sandy Koufax

Well, it’s apparent that the Royals have tied down the tourniquet to stop the bleeding. The losing steak has ended and the winning streak  prolongs. Life, as we know it, continues… I understand I probably just cursed our chances, but experts say it will only last for a short while.

Francoeur hits the sac fly, and the Royals win! Cleveland here we come…

But the stale question remains: when will the losing streak return to haunt us?

Streak or no streak, it’s inevitable that there is absolutely nothing we can change about the rhythm of a major league season. Some days you will win. Sometimes you will win multiple games. Some days you will lose. Sometimes you will lose multiple games. That is how it goes around here in baseball. That’s how it goes everywhere.

The teams that win ninety games and only lose sixty some, are the ones who do one, two or more things consistently ALL SEASON LONG. I’d say a good percentage of the time those winning, playoff bound teams have a reliable pitching staff. The hitting isn’t something to be ashamed of, but for the most part it’s the pitching that is so solid.

Let takes a look at the rotation of the past five (5) World Series champions.

2010 Giants 

92-70

Pitcher Wins Losses ERA/SV
ACE Lincecum 16 10 3.43
2 Cain 13 11 3.14
3 Zito 9 14 4.15
4 Sanchez 13 9 3.07
5 Bumgarner 7 6 3.00
Closer Wilson 3 3

1.81 (48)

 

2009 Yankees 

103-59

Pitcher Wins Losses ERA
ACE Sabathia 19 8 3.37
2 Burnett 13 9 4.04
3 Pettitte 14 8 4.16
4 Chamberlain 9 6 4.75
5 Hughes 8 3 3.03
Closer Rivera 3 3 1.76 (44)

 

2008 Phillies 

92-70

Pitcher Wins Losses ERA
ACE Hamels 14 10 3.09
2 Moyer 16 7 3.71
3 Myers 10 13 4.55
4 Kendrick 11 9 5.49
5 Blanton 4 0 4.20
Closer Lidge 2 0 1.95 (41)

 

2007 Red Sox 

96-66

Pitcher Wins Losses ERA
ACE Beckett 20 7 3.27
2 Matsusaka 15 12 4.40
3 Schilling 9 8 3.37
4 Wakefield 16 12 4.76
5 Taverez 6 11 5.22
Closer Papelbon 1 3 1.85 (37)

 

2006 Cards 

83-78

Pitcher Wins Losses ERA
ACE Carpenter 15 8 3.09
2 Marquis 14 16 6.02
3 Suppan 12 7 4.12
4 Mulder 6 7 7.14
5 Reyes 5 8 5.06
Closer Isringhausen 4 8 3.55 (33)

AFTER ANALYSIS, IT’S SAFE TO SAY THAT:

A)   You don’t have to have a superstar staff to reach the playoffs, let alone win the World Series. But a reliable one is KEY.

B)   You DO have to have at least ONE pitcher that performs above average. If you ONLY have at least one and you win the World Series, you most likely have incredible offensive production. For example, look at the 2006 Cardinals and the 2007 Red Sox. The Cardinals certainly had a weak pitching staff beyond Carpenter. Lets face it, Mulder was towards the end of his run, and Suppan fought his way to that 4.12 ERA. But they did have (49) homeruns and (137) RBI from Albert Pujols plus Rolen, Edmonds and company. The Red Sox had washed up names in their rotation beyond Beckett and the overrated Dice K, but Manny, Damon, Drew, Varitek, etc were enough to win ninety-six games.

C)   These five teams had fantastic closers. Isringhausen was the worst going (4-8 with a 3.55 and 33 saves). The remaining four closers completely dominated.

D)   The teams that had weaker pitching like the Cardinals and Red Sox had great bullpens. The Cardinals had a young Adam Wainwright sitting in the pen and the Red Sox had Jon Lester and Clay Buchholz. ALL THREE would be the ACE of our beloved Royals, THEN and NOW. So, as obvious as it is, despite a decent record above .500, the Royals have SO MUCH room to grow. For the first time in years though, I can finally say we are taking steps in the right direction.

E)   Thanks to the 2006 Cardinals, there is PROOF you can win eighty-three games and win it all. You don’t have to be the best thing since sliced bread. Anything CAN happen, which is a breath of fresh air. So even with all the money in world and no salary cap or a glimpse of parody, a team like the Yankees won’t ALWAYS win it all. Call it a spoof, but the Cardinals did win it all. If you look at their offensive production, the first question you ask is how in the world did they only win eighty-three games? The offense alone could have carried that team. It was statistically one of Pujols best years, and that has to say something.

F)    In closing its safe to say that MOST OF TIME, you have to have reliable pitching to win it all.

The Royals are a team we haven’t seen in a while. They actually have an identity. They are easy to identify which is so much better than a team that has no chance, or has hidden faults.

When the 2011 Royals lose, we know 100% why. This year, its pitching and nothing more.

They hit the ball. Gordon, Butler, Betemit, Trenor, Francoeur, Melky…whomever you want to name. They hit the ball.

The Royals are different than other teams, IN POSITIVE WAYS! I was watching a Detroit Tigers game the other day and they played the Yankees. It was hard to watch. They have leaks all over and they have for a while. It starts with Brandon Inge. His hesitant approach reminds me of some of the old Royals. Players would walk up and watch perfect strikes go across the plate and swing at balls that hit the dirt before the game even started. Inge looked lost. He saw three pitches in his first at bat against Bartolo Colon. Strike one looking. Strike two looking. Ball one in the dirt, swing and a miss. It resembled the days of Angel Berroa and Ken Harvey. You just never knew what might happen. Berroa was on another planet toward the end of his run with KC and Harvey needed to hit a homerun in every appearance. Absolutely no discipline what so ever. Those days are diminished for now. We have hitters and promise. It’s just the pitching that determines our success. The pitching is our one leak, and that leak is one a winning team cannot afford. Chen isn’t going to save this team all season long. Hochevar needs to eliminate his weekly homerun party. Davies needs to show some signs of major league talent. Francis is squeaking by. Collectively, the rotation and bullpen is like a weekly forecast- Sunny on Monday and Tuesday, with showers to close her out. The pitching needs certainty and when there is certainty on the mound, and offensive production to follow, out spill the wins.

Errors are rarely made this season. A successfully aggressive approach to the game is in effect. Hitters get on base and score.

The pitching is unfortunately stubborn.

Pitching, please don’t be stubborn. Every other facet is in place to win.

 

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