Thanks to a few recent meltdowns all those nice, pretty, even awe-inspiring team pitching stats have taken a hit.
Still good, but not near how good things looked four or five days ago, when it looked like the Royals were going to be a late 1960s National League team. That being said, remember, it's been over a decade since the pitching staff was even above-average, much less good, so this is still considerable progress.
You can credit the bullpen for getting the Royals to 124 strikeouts so far (5th in the AL), as the 'pen has accounted for 57 of them. If you're curious, that's roughly 46% of the team's total, in 40% of the innings. One last word about the bullpen; while this is certainly a game-wide issue, it's hard to generalize too much about the bully, because there are actually two of them, the shutdown group of assassins that protects a lead (have we figured out if Rany's "Hispanic Panic" idea is insensitive, yet? I kinda think so) along with the group of scrubs randomly sent to fill time when the Royals are behind. (Or, sometimes, tied.) The recent trip featured numerous games where the Royals took a slight deficit and turned it into a laugher, and this just at the moment when we we're beginning to think the bullpen was invincible. It's somewhat fascinating that many feel Soria is too valuable as a closer to even consider becoming a starter, in light of the fact that he's pitched seven innings all year, a total which is probably a tad high since the Royals started out by winning many close games. Jimmy Gobble is still one batter short of his fourth inning of work. Again, we have a disconnect and an inability to consistently approach ideas in this sport from time to time. Hillman, and everyone else, wants pitchers to work more, last longer in games, throw more innings, etc., but for some reason Jimmy Gobble only needs to appear bi-weekly, for no more than five minutes at a time. Leo Nunez though, that dude's a horse, logging a hellish 7.2 innings to date.
While the pitching numbers have fallen back to earth, the offensive totals have just fallen further below the surface.
Take another look at that table. The American League average is dominating the Royals. Thanks to another weekend of insanity on the basepaths however, the Royals now can claim fourteen steals as a team, which would be Nipponific, if they hadn't also been caught 10 times (thats a 58% success rate folks). Still, you just can't measure how much all that disruption on the basepaths has intimidated the opposing pitchers. Nor can you measure how distracted and anxious they've been. I'm sure psychologists around the American League have seen increased business since ole Trey showed up.
I just can't explain it, doc. Everywhere I turn, I see John Buck at the plate, with Ross Gload standing off first. Will Gload make a move, or will he stand still? It's terrifying!! I can't check my mail, I can't pay my alimony, I can't pick up fast food. And I certainly can't pitch. I know he's going to run, but ... I ... I.... just... can't.... (breaks down sobbing)
The Royals have used all the pyschological warfare on the infield to generate... oh wait, they've only scored 63 runs, a total so low it looks like they've been playing baseball on Mercury. The Royals are eight runs -- so like three games -- behind the Twins, who are not only managed by Ron Gardenhire, but who voluntarily sought Adam Everett's services. I'll keep harping on this, because I actually discovered it, but last season the Royals hit 102 homers, the lowest total in the American League since the strike year of 1994, and if you take out that year, you actually have to go back a few more years to find a more impotent team. Well, this year, the Royals are on pace to hit about 77 home runs. I think I predicted 130 or so homers as a team somewhere, but I'm starting to have my doubts.