The last time the Royals went 18-11 to start the season, they also had a debacle on Memorial Day: losing 13-1 to Detroit in what was pretty much the beginning of the end to both that season and Gil Meche’s career. What does that have to do with 2015? Absolutely nothing, other than keeping the 18-11 meme alive. That 2009 team was already taking on water, this year’s Royals squad just had a bad day.
Speaking of bad days, Jeremy Guthrie had the worst. He brought absolutely nothing to mound yesterday – I’m pretty sure Craig Brown and Aaron Stilley got doubles off him. That will happen when on a windy day in the Bronx when you are a pitcher who strikes out no one. Guthrie has the lowest strikeout rate (3.54/9) among qualified starting pitchers in baseball. Jeremy’s earned run average is 6.70, his FIP is 6.02, which is only better than two guys pitching for the Rockies. To say Guthrie had some measure of ‘correction’ from his previous three starts is an understatement. Maybe it was just bad luck….and Jeremy Guthrie.
The Royals, however, are right on schedule. A little while back, I arbitrarily picked thirteen game stretches and determined if the Royals simply went 7-6 in each stretch (after their 7-0 start), they would end up with 90 wins. Well, they went 7-6 and then they went 7-6 again and are already 7-4 in this current thirteen game period. Sure, they have been outscored 20-2, the last two games, but all that goes away with a win tonight. Is 90 wins enough? Maybe, maybe not, but if all the Royals have to do to get there is go 7-6 all year long, I like their chances of doing a little better.
Danny Duffy is on the disabled list. The Royals are crafty little guys, aren’t they? If Danny was third in the league in ERA, I’m pretty sure he would be pitching through this ‘soreness/stiffness’ issue. As it is, this give the Royals a nice opportunity to let Duffy hit the reset button on 2015. A couple of rehab – some speculated he could get as many as five if Kansas City were to play out the entire minor league rehab scenario – in Omaha might be just what Danny needs. I mean, it sure as hell cannot hurt.
Vargas is back. I wrote this last week, but Kansas City’s fortunes have turned so much that when they send a pitcher to the disabled list for fifteen days, that is actually all there is to it. I had already written Jason Vargas off as a going under the Tommy John knife and here he is, back in action. Vargas has essentially been the exact same pitcher the past five seasons, which is better than he was in his first five starts for the Royals this year. I cannot imagine the Royals are going to get major innings out of Jason tonight in New York – they held Joe Blanton out of yesterday’s debacle specifically because they are expecting to piggy back him with Vargas tonight – but it definitely helps the Royals’ rotation to have Vargas at least on his way back. After all, a rusty Vargas can’t be worse than Danny Duffy was…or Jeremy Guthrie.
Or has it changed? The karma, I mean. Greg Holland spent time on the disabled list with a minor injury, came back and saved three games, blew a save and then didn’t pitch for 11 days before looking bad yesterday. Since his return, Holland has allowed five hits in six innings while walking SEVEN and striking out just four. His average fastball velocity is more than two miles-per-hour slower in 2015 than it was last season. None of that screams ‘healthy’.
Rumor time. Some people hate it, some people love it, some people think there is something inhumane about it, but trade rumor time is coming – maybe it never left. Jim Bowden, beloved by all, has linked Matt Garza and Aaron Harang to the Royals. It is theoretically possible that this might possibly have a chance of being a little accurate. Or not. Garza is not as good as baseball has wanted him to be and would be under contract through 2017 (possibly 2018 with a vesting option that I’ll look up when someone other than Bowden links the Royals to him). Harang is old, but still effective especially in Kaufmann with the Royals’ defense behind him. I kind of wonder how much (i.e. little) it might take to get Harang, who is under contract only through 2015. I can understand you not being excited at the idea, but what if Danny Duffy cannot throw strikes in Omaha? What if Jason Vargas really isn’t healthy? What if we start seeing more of Memorial Day Guthrie and less of the guy who threw 18 effective innings in his three previous starts? Those are the questions that make me drink. Well, that and an intense desire to, you know, drink.