Luke Hochevar gave up four runs on six hits over six and one-third innings last night. He struck out five, walked two and gave up back to back jacks to Josh Hamilton and Adrian Beltre in a three run fourth. He was, well, he was Luke.
What are the Royals to do with him?
Seven times this year (exactly 1/4 of his starts), Hochevar has allowed two runs or less over more than six innings of work. Not surprisingly, the Royals have won six of those games. Seven other times this year, Luke has allowed six runs or more and, again not surprisingly, the Royals have lost all of those contests. While past years may not have the perfect symmetry of 2012, they have a painful similarity.
In 2011, Hochevar had 10 starts of the sure thing variety (the Royals were 8-2 in those) and just six of the awful variety (the Royals went 1-5).
When Luke Hochevar takes the mound, the Royals have an outstanding chance of winning 25% of the time and basically no chance another 25% of the time. The remaining of his starts in 2012 are like in past years a little less than a 50-50 affair. The Royals are 6-8 in Luke's other 14 starts this year. In 2011's 'other' starts by Hochevar, the Royals were 8-7.
We all know that Luke's earned run average (a stat that I believe still has some validity when dealing with starting ptichers) consistently is worse than his FIP. It leads us down the path that Hochevar should be better and ought to eventually be better. Yet, since 2008, Hochevar's ERA has only once been within half a run of his FIP. Over his career, Luke has a FIP of 4.45 (xFIP of 4.29), but an ERA of 5.30.
What Hochevar has done the last two years is take the ball every fifth day and grind through some innings. After throwing 198 last year, Luke is likely to end up north of 180 in 2012. That's not great, but it is something.
I think, without question, Hochevar has to be the career record in blog columns about how he might be fixed or could be fixed. Heck, I have written at least five over Luke's career and I am sure Craig and Jeff might have just as many if not more. Truth is, we are 747 innings into Luke Hochevar's career and this may simply be who he is: sometimes dominant, sometimes horrible, often just a tad below average.
Of course the issue is that Hochevar is eligible for arbitration this year and, due to the craziness of baseball, likely to get a raise above his current $3.5 million salary.
So, what do you do this off season Royals' fans?