The KC Royals come out of Detroit losing two of three games after their bullpen failed in two close games. Manager Ned Yost needs to try out Brian Flynn in high leverage roles instead of the unreliable Joakim Soria or Luke Hochevar.
The dispiriting thing about losing two of three in Detroit is that the Kansas City Royals got solid starts in all three games from Ian Kennedy, Danny Duffy, and Yordano Ventura. The KC Royals held a 2-1, seventh inning lead on Friday before Luke Hochevar imploded to give up three runs. On Sunday, the Kansas City Royals were tied in the ninth inning 2-2 with the Tigers and had forced Detroit manager Brad Ausmus to deploy closer Francisco Rodriguez in a non-save situation.
The KC Royals were poised to get into the soft underbelly of the Detroit bullpen if only Joakim Soria could get the Tigers in the ninth inning. He failed.
I suppose one could argue that Ned Yost should have tapped Wade Davis there, but I’m sure his thinking was to hold back his closer for a lead on the road. Yost went with Soria, who gave up two runs while slated to face the bottom of the Detroit batting order.
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If the Kansas City Royals bullpen had done their job this weekend, Kansas City could have swept the Tigers. A road sweep to kick off the second-half might have given the team the confidence to overcome what is clearly a mental issue when on the road.
In short, the supposedly dominant bullpen blew a golden opportunity.
Yost needs to find a three-headed monster that works. While Wade Davis and Kelvin Herrera are doing their jobs, Luke Hochevar and Joakim Soria just aren’t cutting it. To me, that means he should give Brian Flynn a shot in the seventh inning.
The 26-year-old lefty rookie Flynn sports an impressive 2.39 ERA in 26.1 innings pitched this season with an 8.5 K/9 and a 2.7 BB/9. Those are much better numbers than both Hochevar (3.86 ERA) or Soria (3.60 ERA).
Yes, Flynn doesn’t have much of a track record and could turn into a pumpkin at any time. At this point, the KC Royals need to find SOMETHING that works. It looks like they need to catch some luck, because the formerly old-reliables aren’t getting the job done. It’s time to try something different before the season goes south.
Such a move would fly in the face of Yost’s reputation for patience. But, I think it’s warranted under the circumstances.