And the Royals missed an opportunity because of it.
Kelvin Herrera had not been charged with an earned run since June 24th and got tagged with two last night when Wade Davis allowed a three run triple. Herrera allowed three baserunners and got just two outs in an uneven outing that spanned the last of the sixth inning and the first of the seventh. Obviously, he was out of his element pitching in an inning that was not his own, right?
Let’s be clear here – and I’M TALKING TO YOU NED! – that had nothing to do with it. Herrera may be the ‘seventh inning guy’, but he hadn’t actually pitched in the seventh since September 3rd. His previous four outings before last night all began in the eighth inning (it’s madness I tell you). This was actually the sixth time Kelvin has begun an appearance in the sixth inning in 2014 and the very first time he was charged with a run.
I have some faith that most fans realize that pitching in the sixth did not cause ‘dome issues’ for Herrera, but I have very little faith that Ned Yost won’t revert back to the ‘Herrera pitches the seventh’ doctrine citing last night as the primary reason.
Speaking of THE DOCTRINE, we saw Wade Davis come on in the seventh and, as we are all painfully aware, blow apart his scoreless inning streak as well. Davis had not been tagged with an earned run since June 25th and he had not allowed an inherited runner to score since July 31st. He had allowed two doubles all season, no triples and no home runs. Nobody is that good. These things happen.
Now, if you want to get all ‘mental’ about something, keep in mind that last night was the very first time all year that Davis has pitched in the seventh inning and just the eighth time in 65 appearances that he entered with runners on base. If you are hell-bent on defending Yost and his rigid approach to reliever usage, here is your banner. Wave it if you must, but I think you’re grasping at straws.
I don’t buy in to the idea that a major league reliever is so fragile that pitching an inning early causes him to be ineffective. It should also be noted that two of Davis’ seven previous outings in which he entered the game with runners on base occurred earlier this month and he kept those runners from scoring. It was a tough situation last night to be sure, but the result was more just a case of the inevitability of baseball than an unfamiliarity of the scenario.
It is likely I am preaching to the choir with this column. The problem is, Ned Yost is not a choir member.