Pitching Perspectives (5/11-5/17)

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The Royals finished the week with a 2-4 record.  They are now 20-18 and 1 game behind the Tigers for 1st place in the division.

Kansas City

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

PC

ERA

WHIP

Gil Meche

4.1

6

5

5

2

1

1

87

10.39

1.85

Zack Greinke

7.0

6

1

1

2

6

0

106

1.29

1.14

Kyle Davies

7.0

6

3

3

2

4

0

119

3.85

1.14

Luke Hochevar

2.0

7

8

8

2

1

1

48

 

 

 

3.1

3

3

2

3

1

0

70

16.89

2.81

Brian Bannister

5.2

5

2

2

1

3

0

87

3.17

1.06

Totals:

29.1

33

22

21

12

16

2

 

6.44

1.53

Rotation Assessment:
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

Gil Meche failed to make it through 5 innings.  He claims that fatigue and not back problems caused his erratic control, short outing and general lack of success.  Consider me a skeptic. Watching Meche pitch, he clearly isn’t himself.  Regardless of the contributing factors, the Royals need him to get healthy, rested or both if they have any chance of staying in contention.

Zack Greinke again turned in an excellent start despite pitching with only his B or C level stuff after waiting through a very long rain delay.

Kyle Davies turned in his 2nd quality start in a row.  Perhaps more importantly his control has started to improve again.

Luke Hochevar’s first two starts in the majors this season have been downright terrible.  There is no point in the Royals sending him back to Triple-A but if he can’t get through 6 innings in his next start, a move to the bullpen might be in order.

Brian Bannister left his start early with right shoulder stiffness, but then declared that he would be able to make his next start.  For the second time since being called up, he referenced the game conditions as a contributing factor for his difficulties.  The first time it was the mist in the air that prevented him from controlling his pitches.  This time the chilly weather caused his shoulder to stiffen up.  Darrell May always had a reason or an excuse for why he pitched poorly on a given night, and Bannister seems to be following that example.  Just like Darrell May, BB is capable of turning in an excellent start from time to time, but neither were very good pitchers.  Anyone thinking that Bannister will continue to put up good numbers for the rest of the year is just kidding themselves.  I’m sure if his next start goes poorly, he will be quick to admit the shoulder was a bigger issue than he let on.  He will reference the barometric pressure as adversely impacting his off-speed pitches or some other nonsense.

As the week starts, Greinke and Davies are the only 2 of the 5 that can be counted on, and I sure wouldn’t put money on Davies turning in a quality start at this point.  Meche has fatigue and back issues.  Bannister has shoulder and meteorological issues.  Hochevar just has issues.  I never thought I would say this, but I think the best move for the Royals at this point is to put Sidney Ponson back into the rotation.  If for no other reason, it will get him out of the bullpen.

The Bullpen:

 

IP

H

R

ER

BB

SO

HR

ERA

WHIP

Juan Cruz (R)

4.1

0

0

0

3

0

0

0.00

0.69

Kyle Farnsworth (R)

3.0

1

0

0

0

2

0

0.00

0.33

Ron Mahay (L)

3.1

3

1

0

3

2

0

0.00

1.80

Sidney Ponson (R)

3.0

5

5

3

4

3

1

9.00

3.00

Horacio Ramirez (L)

2.0

2

1

0

2

0

0

0.00

2.00

Joakim Soria (R)

DL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robinson Tejeda (R)

5.0

4

3

3

2

7

0

5.40

1.20

Jamey Wright (R)

2.0

4

4

0

1

0

0

0.00

2.50

Totals:

22.2

19

14

6

15

14

1

2.38

1.50

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

The bullpen allowed 14 runs to score, but only 6 of them were earned.  This indicates that the defense behind them was terrible and that they did not pitch as well as their 2.38 ERA would suggest.  15 walks in only 22.2 innings of relief is a problem.  The only RP that did not walk a batter during the week was, surprisingly, Kyle Farnsworth.  For all of the Farnsworth bashing that has gone on this season, he was the best the bullpen had to offer in week 6.  At the other extreme was Sidney Ponson who obviously isn’t real happy to be pitching in the pen.  That or he sucks.  It’s probably both, but Ponson has more value to the Royals as a starter than a reliever and needs to be put back in the rotation.  Ideally, the Royals would swap Ponson and Hochevar to let Luke figure things out at the major league level in low-pressure situations.  It is a death sentence for a team to have its bullpen throw almost as many innings (22.2) as the starters (29.1).  I will give Hillman credit that he has decreased his usage of Jamey Wright the last two weeks.  I’m not sure that is because of Trey’s intentions or if it is due to the fact that Wright has become more ineffective as the innings pile up on his arm.  That said, Wright for the season still has an ERA of 1.66, has allowed less than a hit per inning and 2.80 SO/BB.  He is without a doubt the surprise of the bullpen thus far in 2009.  Juan Cruz has been as good as advertised with a 1.45 ERA.  Cruz has allowed only 7 hits in 18.2 innings pitched.  He has walked 10, but when you allow less than 3.5 H/9 you can get away with a high number of walks.  My only concern with Cruz is his 13 SO.  His 6.27 SO/9 this season is the lowest he has ever had in his career.  Not predicting doom and gloom or anything for Cruz but considering he has had a SO/9 of 12.8 and 12.4 the last two years, I think the lack of strikeouts bears watching.

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