3. The Bullpen Needs To Continue Their Bounce-Back
A big part of the KC Royals identity in the last two pennant-winning seasons has been a dominant bullpen. Teams were intimidated when faced with a deficit against Kansas City in the late innings. And, the dominant pen helped give the Royals the belief that they could come back against playoff opponents.
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However, after a so-so June (3.29 ERA) and brutal July (5.96 ERA), the KC Royals bullpen wasn’t so intimidating. The Royals have blown 7 games after holding leads to begin the sixth inning. They’re a mere coin flip in games that are tied in the late innings after dominating such situations in 2015.
The KC Royals lost both Luke Hochevar and Wade Davis to injury at the end of July. Hochevar is gone for the season after thoracic outlet surgery. However, the bullpen has rallied in August. In the last week, the re-worked relief corps has held opponents to a 0.47 ERA. For the month, the bullpen has held opponents to 2.21 ERA. That’s the second-best mark in MLB, behind the Seattle Mariners at 1.94.
Help On The Way
Aside from the return of Wade Davis, the KC Royals could also get help from Mike Minor, Jason Vargas, and Kris Medlen, who are all rehabbing in the minor leagues. I presume that one of the three will replace Dillon Gee in the rotation, but the other two should help out the pen.
When rosters expand in September, Ned Yost will have plenty of veteran arms to match up against opposing hitters. He’ll especially have a load of middle relievers to take pressure off of his starters.
Next: Thing No. 2