Kansas City Royals: Five Keys to Winning Rays Series

CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Whit Merrifield
CLEVELAND, OH - AUGUST 27: Whit Merrifield /
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KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 23: Ryan Buchter
KANSAS CITY, MO – AUGUST 23: Ryan Buchter /

No. 3 Figure Out the Bullpen

Defined roles in the bullpen are as follows: Kelvin Herrera is the closer. That’s it. He’s the only one with a set role.

With Joakim Soria on the disabled list, there is no set-up man. Will that still be the case when he returns, or has Ned Yost decided everything else will be determined by matchup?

Things are always going to be subject to change. There is no getting around that, but it cannot be easy for bullpen guys to mentally prepare for situations when they have no frame of reference.

Did Mike Minor know before Thursday’s game that he might face a few of Colorado’s left-handed hitters even if they came up with nobody on in the eighth inning? We don’t know. If not, that’s a heck of a position to put him in.

It can’t be easy for Yost with a majority of the bullpen seemingly unable to put up zeros for the better part of the second half. I mean, if Brandon Maurer was pitching his best it’s not hard to see him taking over the eighth-inning role—with or without Soria’s injury.

But Maurer and many of his bullpen mates have not pitched well of late. Overuse is one obvious factor. Reinforcements should be on the way soon. Brian Flynn was added to the roster Monday, as Eric Skoglund, who got blasted in his spot start on Sunday, was sent to Triple-A Omaha.

More arms will make their way to Kansas City when rosters expand in September, and that might be the key to fixing the bullpen.