KC Royals: 3 big underperformers at season’s midpoint

(Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: David Berding-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals
(Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports) /

Overall, pitching has been less than stellar for the KC Royals this season.

Sadly, the pitching staff hasn’t been in sync this season. According to mlb.com, the KC Royals have a 5.15 team ERA, placing third to last in the majors, ahead of only to the Diamondbacks and Orioles. They have a 1.48 WHIP and .262 OBA.

Brad Keller’s 5.97 ERA, .309 OBA, 119 hits allowed, and 1.76 WHIP place him dead last among the majors’ qualified starters. He leads the AL in walks with 48. Mike Minor is second to last with a 5.67 ERA that has ballooned since June 1, in addition to a 2-6 record and 6.69 ERA since then.

Although he started the year hot, Danny Duffy was placed on the Injured List with a left forearm flexor strain in mid-May. He returned and relieved June 23 against the Yankees, but upon getting back to the rotation allowed three home runs, four earned runs, and five hits in3.1 innings against Boston; his 1.81 ERA rocketed to 2.43. He had a 5.68 ERA in 6.1 innings in June and a 3.00 in two July starts.

The KC Royals don’t have a definitive fifth starter. Kris Bubic has filled the role recently, but is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA and 1.59 WHIP. In June and July, he’s 1-4 with a 9.66 ERA and 16 walks in 27 innings.

Then there’s the bullpen. Although Scott Barlow and Kyle Zimmer have done well overall, they’ve struggled recently. Wade Davis hasn’t come close to his old self—he has an 8.60 ERA, 1.64 WHIP, and .307 OBA in 25.2 innings, and is currently on the IL. Anthony Swarzak has a 9.95 ERA in 6.1 innings, and Tyler Zuber had a 6.35 ERA and allowed 15 walks in 17.0 innings before he was sent down.

And when called up, promising prospects in Daniel Lynch and Jackson Kowar struggled mightily. Lynch posted an 15.75 ERA in eight innings and gave up18 hits and 15 runs. Kowar had a 18.00 ERA in five innings and surrendered 11 hits after posting an 0.85 ERA at Triple-A Omaha.

Needless to say, pitching has been the Achilles heel for Kansas City this season.