Kansas City Royals Should Start Kris Medlen in Game Four


Right now, the Kansas City Royals have a 2-0 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Royals did what they needed to do, winning both games at home to protect their home field advantage. However, as the Royals travel north to the Rogers Centre, a place of horrors earlier this season, absolutely nothing is a given.

With the Blue Jays powerful offense perfectly suited to their home field, the Royals decision as to their Game Four starter may be crucial. Yes, new ace Johnny Cueto, who may have exorcized his postseason demons, is slated to pitch in Game Three. However, the To Be Determined designation for what could be a truly critical game on Tuesday might end up being the most important decision that Ned Yost has had to make thus far in the American League Championship Series.

Well, Yost has given us a look into his thought process. While he stopped short of naming his fourth starter, he did give us one tantalizing clue as to who will take the mound for that game, explaining that the future starter is named Chris. Or was it Kris? Someone call Scoob and the gang!

In all honesty, the decision as to who should start for the Kansas City Royals in Game Four is not that difficult to make, at least based on statistics. In the home run haven that the Blue Jays call home, having a pitcher that can minimize Toronto’s ability to put the ball into the air would seemingly be a decided advantage.

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While Chris Young‘s fly ball tendencies play well in Kauffman Stadium, they could be a major drawback when it comes to facing the Blue Jays at home. His career fly ball to ground ball rate of almost three to one, as well as the 16 home runs that Young has allowed in his 123.1 innings this season, do not exactly inspire confidence that he would be able to keep the Blue Jays in the yard.

Meanwhile, Kris Medlen has been particularly adept at generating ground balls during his career. Overall, Medlen has generated ground balls at a 1.23 to one fly ball rate, including a 1.22:1 rate this season. Add in the Royals excellent infield defense, and Medlen would seem to be the clear cut choice.

Yes, looking at the raw statistics, Young has pitched better than Medlen this season. Young’s 3.06 ERA and 1.086 WHiP are much better than Medlen’s 4.01 ERA and 1.269 WHiP this season, seemingly making Young the Chris that should get the start. However, other factors need to be looked at with this decision as to who will get the ball in what could be a pivotal Game Four.

Chris Young may have the better stat line, but the right choice for the Kansas City Royals for Game Four would be Kris Medlen. His ground ball tendencies make him the perfect choice for the Rogers Centre.

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