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Royal Ups and Downs: 18-11!!!111 Edition

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Okay yes, the Royals are now 21-12, but this an important issue that must be addressed.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Well, two weeks ago, I wrote, in my intro to this ridiculous feature:

Part of that might be because the "18-11"-type starts have numbed me, even now, to the Kansas City Royals starting strong.

...so I'm sorry about this, I never meant to actually bring 18-11 upon us. You might as well pack things up right now, really. The fact is, the Royals only went to the World Series last season because they were 14-15 after 29 games in 2014:

See? The one year in the last sexty-billion that the Royals make not only the Wild Card game, not only the playoffs, but the World Frickin' Series, they stuck to the plan of being heartrendingly mediocre for 29 games before taking off. This 18-11 crap never ends well. 14-15 is what we should be shooting for, first and foremost. Someone tell all these BABIP surfers to save their hot streaks for later in the year, yeah? We don't wanted be clocked by the LOB% Minotaur and that fickle BABIP Fairy at the same time. Ask the Baltimore Orioles about that (or don't).

So for 2016, let's remember that 14-15 is the goal. Or maybe 13-16, so that we win Game 7 of the World Series. I'm nor entirely sure how this works.

(Note: if you took anything written above this seriously, please consult your doctor. You probably need a couple new lobes or something)

Anyhow, when last we met, we were talking about the position players. So it's Pitchers week now. Reminder that now we're into the flow of the season, the arrows will tend to reflect the performance over the past two weeks. Additional reminder that no amount of begging will get Jeremy Guthrie an up arrow. Additional additional reminder that comments/question/discussion are all welcome/encouraged. Additional additional additional reminder that up and down arrows are subjective and I reserve the right to throw that in your face.

SP - Edinson Volquez -

kaboom

Some might say that after Volquez's hot April, there was nowhere to go but down. However, Volquez plummeted pretty fast; after a vaguely adequate six innings vs. Detroit in which he nonetheless took the loss, Volquez's most recent two starts have 17 baserunners--nine on walks--in eight innings. That's just ugly. One of the reasons that Royals have spring-boarded into relevance is because of team defense, but it's hard to bail out a guy who doesn't let the ball be put into play.

SP - Yordano Ventura -

kaboom

Ventura wobbled through 5.1 innings against Cleveland on the 29th of April, giving up five runs and somehow only striking out one better. He followed that up with a better-but-still-not-good start against Detroit, surrendering 11 baserunners and four runs through six. The fact that the Royals top of the rotation was this bad and yet they still are in first is a testament to the blessings of the bullpen and the BABIP Fairy.

On the bright side, he was not ejected or injured. That's something, right?

SP - Jason Vargas -

nope

Vargas only made one start in May--actually a pretty good one--before being placed on the disabled list retroactive to last Wednesday. The Royals don't think his injury is serious, and Chris Young has slotted into his spot in the rotation. Before he went on the shelf, his walk rate was up, K-rate was down, and HR-rate was up. So here's hoping that that was all injury related, and that Vargas returns healthy. The Vs didn't have a good couple weeks, folks.

SP - Danny Duffy -

kaboom

You know that special "Aaron Crow" level of bad that deserved it's own designation last season? The times where Crow was so ineffective that giving him just a down arrow seemed like letting him off easy and then some? Duffy has been around that level in his last couple starts. Volquez's last two starts have been downright miserable, and Duffy wishes he'd been that good.

Against Cleveland, Duffy only recorded three outs. Against Texas, walked six and give up six runs in 3.2 innings. This is quite enough to offset his legitimately great start against Detroit on the last day of April (7 innings, 1 R, 7 Ks). On the bright side, more than some others, he's been dinked and dunked to death, allowing a .368 BABIP can make you look like "the worst" when you're actually just throwing "pretty crappy." But let's be real here, that walk rate (over four per 9 innings) has got to come down. He's currently averaging last than five innings a start.

SP - Jeremy Guthrie -

nope

The bar for Guts was set pretty low (by him), and Guthrie was at his embrace-the-luck best against Detroit, efficiently getting through seven innings with one run allowed. This came on the heels of another Detroit start he gave up six runs in six while allowing 11 runners to reach. These two starts caused his ERA to tick down a bit. It's been that kind of year.

SP/RP - Chris Young -

Ups

Hey, a green arrow! It must be a guy who pitched out of the 'pen! Young's made two starts now, spotting in the Royals almost-team-no-hitter game and now subbing for the injured Vargas. He didn't give up a run in either, and was charged with an earned run on April 16th. While he won't maintained a microscopic ERA, his underlying numbers are solid. You have to wonder if someone loses their spot to him when Vargas returns.

RP - Franklin Morales -

kaboom

What? A Royals reliever who gives up runs?! Morales got pasted for four runs in one outing against Cleveland, meaning he's allowed six over his last six innings. Lefties are absolutely pasting him so far this year, while he's limited righties to a .100 BA.

RP - Ryan Madson -

nope

Giving up two dingers in 17.2 innings is a bit steep, especially for a reliever, but that's been the only real negative in Madson's triumphant return. Even with a couple weeks where he actually gave up runs, he's still over a K per inning.

RP - Jason Frasor -

nope

While that ERA still looking pretty sparking, Frasor's been a bit all over the place of late, walking four in his last 3.1 innings. In the only only outing the last four where he didn't walk someone, he gave up two hits and was charged with his first run of the year. He's avoided runs crossing the plate thus far, but a 9:7 K:BB isn't all that great.

RP - Kelvin Herrera -

nope

Two runs allowed in four appearances, including one with two walks. No real cause for alarm, just not a good week or so by Herrera's standards. If you want something to worry about with him, the seven walks in 12.1 innings is probably it.

RP - Luke Hochevar -

nope

He's baaaaaaaaack!

RP - Wade Davis -

Ups

Converted all six save chances while Holland was out, allowing only a .120 BA. Has yet to be charged with a run. This is all normal for Wade Davis, who is still ridiculously good.

RP - Greg Holland -
nope

He's also baaaaaaaack! I love me some Greg Holland, so here's hoping the last couple outings are fluky. His six strikeouts and four walks in nine innings this year are pretty non-Dutch numbers. But the season's younger for him than others, so he's got time to round into form.

~

Fresh off the extra-inning win last night, the Royals will be back at it against Texas again. Ventura goes vs. Yovani Gallardo. This time, someone may get out alive. Happy Wednesday!