No, Royals fans, Joakim Soria is not Juan Cruz
Breathe. It’s going to be alright. Joakim Soria is going to be fine.
Or in a more likely case, our biggest problem being to have Kelvin Herrera pitch the 8th inning (which he probably should have been anyway).
But, even with each those statement’s being true, there is no denying that Soria is off to a rough start. But it’s going to okay, guys.
Let’s just break down some of these outings.
Obviously, there is the three-run doozy of an 8th inning on Opening Night, his first Royals appearance in 2016. The two walks weren’t encouraging, but none of the three hits he surrendered were hit hard.
In fact, do you know how many hard hit balls Soria has surrendered this season? One. Yes, you read that right.
The 441-foot nuke Byung-ho Park hit off of Soria on April 8th is the sole hard hit ball Soria has given up all season.
Last night was another example of this. An infield single, seeing-eye single, and a walk. Not a single hard hit ball.
Rewind to his last appearance in Oakland. The only hit Soria surrendered was a well placed ground ball that snuck past Eric Hosmer at first, was misplayed by Reymond Fuentes in right field, turning into a triple.
He didn’t surrender another hit that inning, but that triple led to the winning run, as the Royals fell 3-2.
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As of right now, Soria has thrown seven innings and struck out nine hitters. He is surrendering just over 9% hard contact, has a whopping .429 BABIP, and a FIP that is over 3.5 runs lower than his ERA.
I’m not saying Herrera shouldn’t pitch the 8th, or even that Hochevar shouldn’t pitch the 7th.
But let’s not panic just yet.
Do you remember how 2013 started? Greg Holland blew a save in his second appearance (giving up three runs in 0.2 innings), and nearly blew another one the next day, before Herrera came in and saved the day.
Many Royals fans wanted Holland to be replaced by Herrera, including my young, naive self.
All Holland did was respond by having one of the best seasons by a relief pitcher in baseball history.
Maybe Soria really is declining.
But let’s allow the guy to at least give up some hard contact before we make that assumption.