1. The Starters Are Eating Up Innings
The biggest reason for the bullpen’s improvement has been dominant starting pitching.
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In the first half of the season, the KC Royals starters compiled a 4.99 ERA and averaged a mere 5.37 innings per start. In August, Kansas City starters are averaging 6.34 innings per start with an outstanding 2.65 ERA.
One inning might not seem like much, but that works out to 23.0 fewer innings so far in August. They’re also getting in trouble far less, which means that relievers don’t have to warm up nearly as much. By reducing the pitching load, and adding a fresh arm in Matt Strahm, the bullpen is dealing with much less pressure than in their awful July.
The key is that not only are they rested, but the weaker players like Chien-Ming Wang and Brian Flynn don’t get exposed. Ned Yost can use them in spots to their best advantage rather than having to use them in non-optimal situations.
Heck, with Danny Duffy averaging more than seven innings per start, they’re almost getting a day off once every five days.
Right now, the bullpen is looking better than ever. And, with September 1 less than a week away, the KC Royals will get fresh arms up from the minors to help.