Good Luke or Bad Luke? Which will take the mound tonight in Minnesota?
Luke Hochevar (5-7, 5.07 ERA, 1.40 WHIP) takes on Cole De Vries (1-1, 4.20 ERA, 1.33 WHIP) in the second game of the day between the two clubs. Hochevar is coming off a seven hit complete game shutout, while De Vries has not pitched in the majors since giving up four runs in five innings against Kansas City on June 4th. (He was no doubt affected by my steely glare from the Crown seats that night).
Over his last three starts, Hochevar has tossed 24 innings, allowing just 3 earned runs and 18 hits. Along the way, Luke has struck out 19 and walked just six. He has not given up a run over his last seventeen innings.
We have seen Hochevar have some very good three game stretches before, more than once, only to be disappointed by a following stretch of stinkers. Is this 'the fix' that will finally fix Hochevar or just another oasis of competence in a desert full of bad pitching? Can it be as simple of focusing on three core pitches instead of trying to throw six? If it is that simple, than why did it take this long?
The Royals should be in good shape in the bullpen tonight if Hochevar cannot provide a fourth excellent start. After the off-day on Thursday, they only needed one inning on Friday night and used only Vin Mazzaro and Tommy Hottovy in this afternoon's loss.
Tonight's game and the season finale tomorrow seem like must wins if the Royals are to make this road trip a success.