April 9, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Luis Mendoza (39) walks to the dugout after being relieved against the Oakland Athletics during the sixth inning at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
When I woke up this morning I was tempted to write something about how last night's loss was especially painful because the Royals got a good start out of Luis Mendoza, yet they were unable to do anything with it. But upon closer reflection, I'm not sure that was the case. Nevertheless, when you only allow one run in a game, you'd like to win.
Also, he was pitching to the Athletics, in Oakland, on a cool night.
Mendoza's boxscore line is straight out of our Bruce Chen fantasies: 5.2 IP, 5 hits allowed (all singles), 4 BBs and 2 Ks. (This is his Mendoza line from last night, get it?)
Mendoza got 10 groundballs, which helped generated a double play, and he threw a wild pitch. Mendoza had one completely clean 1-2-3 inning (the 1st) and in the fourth he faced the minimum thanks to a double play. After allowing a run in the second, he also eventually walked/allowed singles to load the bases, but returned Weeks to end the inning. In the 6th, he was also part of an eventual loading of the bases, but was saved by Tim Collins. After one start, Mendoza's strand rate is 88%.
Like many starting pitchers to pass through these parts in the last decade, Mendoza generates little excitement and almost certainly has no long-term future with the team. At the same time, he's probably not a complete dumpster fire either. He's just a probably not very good pitcher. When I think back to my younger self, I used to anticipate that every Scott Elarton or Odalis Perez start would be a 7 run blowout. That the Royals would be down 5-0 in the second inning and we'd have no hope. It really hardly ever was like that. And in today's run environment, especially against a team like the A's, with a functional Royal defense behind him, a quotidian starter like Mendoza is probably going to be fairly effective.
To return to Mendoza's night... the good: no extra base hits allowed, groundballs. The bad: only two strikeouts, and four walks.