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With a Bullpen Like This, You Don't Have to Walk

Thanks to a dominant bullpen, the Royals are 4-2. In seventeen innings pitched, members of the K.C. 'pen have posted an absurd 1.06 ERA. So yea, if every member of the bullpen is going to perform like vintage Eric Gagne, then no, none of this silly whining about hackfest will matter.

The numbers are after the jump.

I should say, from the beginning, that I don't want to perpetuate the mystification regarding pitching, especially late-inning pitching. Pitching, like defense in football, remains generally over-rated at the level of casual fandom and the world of cliche. Thus, if you watch essentially any baseball game, at some point you will likely hear good pitching beats good hitting every time or if you play good defense and have a good pitching staff, that's all you need. Those statements are wrong, not that anyone will ever refute them. Nevertheless, in any sport, at any level, if you can be truly excellent in one facet of the game, you'll usually achieve a basic level of success. If your team is a mix of average and good in the major categories, they'll be pretty good. In baseball, a team with a great offense and average pitching is going to be a very good team. Same if you flip the categories around.

Anyway, for your edification, the bullpen's collective numbers, through six games.

Innings BBs BAA Ks ERA
K.C. Bullpen 17 3 .145 22 1.06


As must be noted, it is still early. Chicago's bullpen, which was a disaster last season, is just a tick behind the Royals, and Baltimore and Toronto have been even better. A bullpen ERA of 2.20 (about twice what it is now) would still be unspeakably fantastic, but if that were the case, the Royals might be 3-3 or even 2-4. (Just something to keep in mind.)

Here's the data for the starters, collectively.

Innings BBs BAA Ks ERA
K.C. Starters 37 10 .273 22 3.41

Yes, you are seeing that correctly, the starters and relievers are tied in strikeouts, despite the huge inning disparity. The same thing almost happened last year, actually, when the starters managed only 527 Ks against the bully's 466.

Combined, the fearsome fivesome of Soria, Nunez, Gobble, Ramirez and Yabuta have thrown 11.2 scoreless innings, striking out 17.

Offensively, the Royals have scored enough to win, but they aren't winning because of anything the lineup has done, so much as in spite of it. Frankly, they've been fortunate to score as much as they have. Averaging four runs a game isn't good enough long-term (that comes out to 648 runs over the season), no matter how good the pitching is.