Aug 23, 2015; Boston, MA, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcherWade Davis
(17) reacts after the game against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Kansas City defeated Boston 8-6. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
Here, Ned Yost’s decisions gets interesting. Do you go with six or seven relievers? The question will turn on whether Yost thinks an extra bench player will help the Kansas City Royals more than the seventh reliever.
Right now, the KC Royals appear to be sticking with their three-headed monster model they made famous in the 2014 playoffs. However, since Greg Holland will undergo season-ending Tommy John surgery on his elbow Friday, the names have changed. Instead of “HDH”, we now have “MHD”—as in Ryan Madson, Kelvin Herrera, and Wade Davis.
While the back end of the Kansas City Royals bullpen remains impressive, only Wade Davis has been as effective as last season. Kelvin Herrera has been less steady than he was in 2014, and Madson—while effective—simply isn’t a substitute for Greg Holland last season. Still, Kansas City Royals fans will have to hope that the bullpen’s September struggles (the KC pen posted an uncharacteristic 4.37 ERA) are now behind them.
Aside from the MHD trio, the KC Royals have lefties Franklin Morales and demoted starter Danny Duffy. The right handed long man figures to be either Chris Young or Kris Medlen, depending on which one gets the nod for the fourth rotation spot.
If Yost decides on a six-man bullpen, that would leave Luke Hochevar inactive. While Hochevar has flashed good stuff at times, he’s simply not been as effective in his first year back from Tommy John surgery as he was in 2013. Hochevar’s 3.81 ERA has been mediocre as well as his 8.9 K/9 (down from an impressive 1.92 ERA and 10.5 K/9 in 2013).
However, with the recent struggles of the Kansas City Royals rotation during September, Yost might not want to dilute his bullpen strength.