4). Starting Rotation Woes
Many pundits expected the Kansas City Royals to struggle with their mediocre rotation in 2016, citing it as a major reason to doubt their ability to repeat. After a strong start to the 2016 season, the KC Royals starters are showing those winter concerns had merit.
While the KC Royals won the World Series last season with a similarly humble starting rotation, the group’s surprising strong start in the season’s first three weeks covered up poor offense. During the Kansas City Royals 3-11 slide over the last two weeks, opponents have beat up on the rotation to the tune of 6.50 ERA and a -0.7 WAR.
They’ve been the second-worst starting rotation in baseball, behind the awful Oakland Athletics.
The only pitcher throwing well over the last two weeks is free-agent acquisition Ian Kennedy. Yordano Ventura, Edinson Volquez, Chris Young, and Kris Medlen have been rocked. The latter two have been awful all season. Manager Ned Yost removed Young from the rotation Tuesday with a 6.68 ERA and reports of tightness in his right forearm. The Yankees beat up Medlen (7.77 ERA) for four earned runs in 2.0 innings on Tuesday night, forcing Yost to resort to reliever Brian Flynn in the third inning.
Ouch. So much for a rested bullpen.
One reliable arm won’t get it done.
The KC Royals do have some depth here with long relievers Dillon Gee, Danny Duffy, and Chien-Ming Wang all having significant starting experience. Kansas City also has Mike Minor beginning a rehab assignment at NW Arkansas after reports from Surprise, AZ indicated he’s been hitting the mid-90’s in workouts.
Ned Yost needs to find some answers soon.
Next: Reason No. 3