As the Royals bullpen is presently constituted, Tim Collins is the only lefty reliever that Ned Yost has at his disposal. Francisley Bueno is in the midst of a rehab assignment after he sprained a finger on his left hand, and Danny Duffy has been a part of the rotation since Bruce Chen was injured. With the Royals not having any other options in the bullpen to fill that role, Collins is expected to be the the pitcher to come in and get left handed batters out.
Instead, Collins has struggled this season, posting a 0-3 record with a 6.17 ERA and a 1.714 WHiP. In his 11.2 innings of work, Collins has walked eight batters against only five strikeouts. While Collins has fared well against left handed hitters over his career, this season has been a struggle. So far in 2014, in the 20 plate appearances that left handed batters have had against Collins, lefties are hitting at a .353/.333/.471 rate. Even though Collins has struck out four batters from the left side, the success that he had been accustomed to is not there at this point.
Yes, majority of the damage was done over Collins’ first two outings, right before he landed on the disabled list. Yet, over his last three games, Collins has given up three runs on three hits and three walks in his three innings of work. Admittedly, this is the result of a small sample size. After all, he has only faced a grand total of 52 batters this season. However, his performance this season has not been close to what the Royals have needed from their only left handed option in the bullpen.
The biggest issue for Tim Collins this season appears to be with his command. As brooksbaseball.net shows in their chart, Collins has left most of his pitches over the plate to left handed hitters.
Those pitches have not been missed, as opponents have been hammering Collins as he has put the ball over the outer half of the zone.
While it may seem paradoxical that Collins is leaving that many pitches over the plate, and is having issues with his control, it does make sense to a degree. As Collins is falling behind hitters, he has been trying to throw strikes. In doing so, Collins has been leaving pitches over the heart of the plate, which has played a large part in his struggles thus far.
With Bueno possibly coming back soon, Tim Collins may need to show improvement soon to avoid being sent down to the minors. As Collins has minor league options available, he could be a candidate to be demoted if he continues to struggle. However, as the only left handed option in the Royals bullpen, Collins will get his chances to improve.
Tim Collins can still be a vital part of the Royals bullpen. He just needs to get his command back and return to the form that saw him stifle left handed batters. Hopefully, that will happen soon.