New KC Royals starting pitcher Cole Ragans shows he's human after all
Ragans, part of the return from Texas in the June trade that sent Aroldis Chapman to the Rangers, reported to Triple-A Omaha after that deal and didn't join the Royals until mid-July. He blazed through August with a 3-1 record, a 1.72 ERA, and 53 strikeouts in 36.2 innings, and held opponents scoreless in three of his six starts. His stellar month spurred widespread social media speculation that he'd be the club's presumptive ace for next season.
Ragans opened this month with six scoreless innings against the White Sox; the effort improved his Kansas City record to 4-1, and his overall season to 6-4. He pitched decently against Toronto last weekend (two runs and six strikeouts in 5.2 innings).
But things turned a bit unsightly for Ragans against Houston Saturday night — after retiring the Astros in order in the first and second innings, he worked out of a bases-loaded scare in the third and, after putting Houston down 1-2-3 in the fourth, gave up three runs in the fifth when he yielded a homer, triple, two singles, and a wild pitch.
Ragans rebounded with a three-strikeout sixth, but left without getting an out in the seventh after Jeremy Peña walked and Mauricio Dubón singled. Reliever Collin Snider gave up a game-tying three-run homer to Jose Altuve, with two of the runs charged to Ragans.
Especially considering he didn't cough up Altuve's homer, and the ever-curious scoring rule that tagged him with two of the three runs Houston plated after he left the game, Ragans' night wasn't a total disaster. But it proved he can be good and not-so-good in the same outing, and that it might not be quite time to proclaim him the staff ace going into next season.
And the final takeaway...