KC Royals: 5 Reasons Why KC Pen Is Shutting Out Opponents
3. Joakim Soria Found His Command
As I pointed out above, Joakim Soria got rocked through August 4. Hitters particularly mashed him in July with an outrageous .759 slugging percentage and a 1.273 OPS.
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Uh, yeah. That’s an arsonist.
The biggest problem was that Soria just wasn’t locating his pitches. Soria walked five hitters in 7.0 innings in July, as well as giving up three home runs. He had an awful 9.00 ERA despite striking out 12.9 hitters per nine innings.
In August, Soria is both throwing harder than he has in years AND locating his pitches. His average fastball velocity is up to 93.88, which is a season high but not out of line with the rest of the year. That’s different than his prime when his fastball averaged around 91 mph.
The difference is that he’s filling the strike zone. He’s walked a mere 3 batters in 11.1 innings in August for a nifty 2.38 BB/9. Combined with his 10.3 K/9, and his Strikeout to Walk ratio (K/BB) is an excellent 4.33. Hitters are slashing a mere .205/.255/.318 against him in August.
Unsurprisingly, Soria’s ERA for this month is a tidy 2.38. He hasn’t surrendered a run in his last 10 appearances and 9.1 innings pitched. Overall, his season ERA has dropped to a tolerable 3.74.
I’m not quite sure that Jack is Back for good. But, he’s been getting the job done lately.
Next: Reason No. 2