The Kansas City Royals were certainly hoping that Kris Medlen could be a major boost to their pitching staff in the second half of this season when he was signed back in December. However, as Medlen was coming off of his second Tommy John surgery, his ability to produce this year was not a given. In fact, it seemed as though the signing was done with more of a look towards the 2016 season instead.
However, after his rough first outing, Medlen has been more than the Royals could have hoped for. In his past seven innings, Medlen has allowed only two hits, striking out six batters. While his control has been shaky at times, as Medlen has allowed five walks, it appears to be improving, especially as he walked only one batter in his 3.2 innings of work yesterday.
That outing by Medlen was desperately needed by the Royals. He relieved an ineffective Danny Duffy in the fourth, with runners on the corners and one out in a tied game. Medlen then proceeded to strike out Tyler Flowers before getting Gordon Beckham to fly out, ending the threat.
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This outing, while a positive for the Kansas City Royals in terms of getting the victory, may be more than that. In pitching this effectively, while lasting for 45 pitches, Kris Medlen also gave the Royals hope that he could truly be the answer to their issues in the starting rotation. Perhaps Medlen could step in for either Jeremy Guthrie or Yordano Ventura, giving the Royals the boost they need in the rotation for the stretch run in September.
Obviously, there is still quite a bit to go before Medlen could truly be counted on as a starter. He would need to be stretched out again at the major league level, and would likely be on a pitch count as he slowly worked back into being a starter. However, given the status of the Royals rotation at this point, the idea that Medlen could be close to ready would certainly be a welcome addition.
The Kansas City Royals may have the help they need in the starting rotation in Kris Medlen. With a month and a half to go before the end of the regular season, it is time to find out.