Starting Pitching PIcking Up
Danny Duffy has been the catalyst with a 9-1 record and 3.00 ERA in his last 15 starts. After another dominating performance against Chicago Thursday night, Duffy moved into the American League lead in ERA. He’s struck out 51 and maintained a paltry 2.39 ERA over his last seven starts.
While the Royals are now expected to win each time Duffy toes the slab, his teammates have also risen to the occasion. Ian Kennedy has locked it down in his two August starts, allowing just one earned run and striking out 11 in 12.1 innings of work. That one run was a home run, which is something Kennedy has struggled with all season.
With a solid performance Friday, Yordano Ventura moved to 2-0 in three starts so far in August. He’s now gone eight-straight starts without allowing more than three runs. Right behind him, Dillon Gee has a 3.38 in August. Gee kept Kansas City in a 4-3 loss to Toronto on Aug. 5, then pitched two perfect innings to get the extra-inning win against Chicago on Wednesday.
In the absence of players like Wade Davis and Luke Hochevar, the starters have stepped up their game. Oddly enough, it’s the bullpen mainstays like Kelvin Herrera and Joakim Soria who have struggled of late. On the other hand, Brian Flynn, Peter Moylan, Matt Strahm, and Chris Young – yes, even Chris Young – have combined for 14.1 shutout innings so far this month. The newcomer Strahm has been lights out, striking out 10 in just 4.2 innings of work.
The Royals could also get some help from the injured list soon. Mike Minor is close to his Kansas City debut after rehabbing in AAA Omaha. Jason Vargas and Kris Medlen are throwing. And, Wade Davis is likely to return before September.
Next: The Offense