No walks. (Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE)
After an encouraging opening week, Royal starting pitching slowly deteriorated this weekend against the Indians. Luke Hochevar, Jonathan Sanchez, and Luis Mendoza were collectively and individually disappointing. Thanks to their performance, the Royals were swept at home, wasting a good amount of solid offensive production, while already placing a burden on the team's bullpen. The total pitching lines are ugly:
Friday - 8 runs, 11 hits allowed, 3 walks
Saturday - 11 runs, 14 hits allowed, 6 walks
Sunday - 13 runs, 15 hits allowed, 7 walks
In my favorite stat of the young season, our beloved Mitch Maier, the team's sometimes 4th outfielder and designated mop-up pitcher, now has a better strikeout to walk differential than both the Sanchize and Mendoza.
We're still dealing with only tiny bits of information right now. There are still over 150 games left. Nevertheless, this weekend felt like a return to 2005 and it wasn't much fun. The first trip through the rotation may have assuaged some concerns, while trip two is, umm, UN-assuaging them.
This weekend offered a first-hand look at what happens when your starting pitching struggles day after day. Headed into today's game, the Royals were last in the AL in total starters innings pitched, despite playing an additional game than a number of teams. This is how you end up with 13 relievers and Mitch Maier pitching.
Of course, that might not be the worst option we have.
The fear all Spring Training, all winter and off-season really, was that the Royals just didn't have enough starting pitching to compete. We don't know if that is the case, but there is still certainly reason to be worried.