Even after surrendering their last two games to Houston, the Royals are still sitting at 44-30. Good for the best record in the American League and still second to the St. Louis
Cheaters Astros Cardinals in all of MLB. Those actual Astros are the only team close at the moment in the AL, as they're currently twelve games over. This leaves the Royals at 4.5 over the surprising Minnesota Twins and 6 over the Detroit Tigers.
Well, this is going pretty well, eh?
(excuse the weak lead-in this week, I may or may not be operating at less than 100% because I wrote parts of this during the USWNT Semi-Final match. Rapinoe for Prez!)
I have no idea how this team wins so much with all the parts falling off this rotation. On to the Pitching Staff Ups and Downs!
SP - Edinson Volquez -
His strand rate is now at exactly his career averages, and the other shoe hasn't really dropped on him, so maybe Volquez is just putting together a nice year. With a K-rate that barely breaks 2x his walk rate, Volquez doesn't exactly dominate hitters, but he's limited Home Runs and continued to get a good amount of grounders. It's fair to wonder how well a pitcher with this stat profile ages, but halfway through the season he's done fine.
His last few starts have been a weird mix that have seen a lot of hitters make contact, but again: he's no longer really whistling past the graveyard.
SP - Danny Duffy -
At this point, it's fair to wonder what this Royals team could be like if right now if the non-Volquez starters weren't all injured or rather ineffective. For Duffy, it's been both. He's finally back from the DL, and, while his two starts haven't been without bright spots, they haven't been good either.
SP - Chris Young -
The Royals no-batteries-necessary-veterans-on-hand approach to starting depth has paid off with Young. While he's finally coming back down towards the planet that most of us live on--he got pasted by the Red Sox--he also shut down both Oakland and Milwaukee in the last couple weeks.
SP - Joe Blanton -
Actually, you know what? It's worked out okay with Blanton, too. Though his last start was ugly, he's actually K'd over 8 batters per 9 in his swingman role.
SP - Jeremy Guthrie -
Guthrie's strikeout rate has actually rebounded a bit, believe or not. Thing is, it's still a lower number than his ERA, which is 5.68. So while I could a bunch of other stuff about Guthrie, I won't.
DL: Yordano Ventura (was trending ), Jason Vargas (was actually doing at least , but hasn't been seen for almost a month)
RP - Franklin Morales -
I have nothing different to say about Morales, really so here's the wikipedia entry for "Oedemeridae" or the "false blister beetle," presented with no further comment.
Oedemeridae may be defined as slender, soft-bodied beetles of medium size found mostly on flowers and foliage. The head lacks a narrow neck, the antennae are long and filiform, the pronotum lacks lateral edges and is much narrower than elytra, the tarsi areheteromerous with bilobed penultimate segment, the procoxal cavities are open behind and the procoxae are conical and contiguous.
RP - Ryan Madson -
Hasn't been charged with a run since June 8th. In case you were wondering, the Royals rotation is propped up by the bullpen. Just a little bit.
RP - Wade Davis -
Well, since MLB didn't change the ruling, Davis still has ONE earned run charged to him this season. That came on June 2nd. His K-Rate is still over 9 per 9, and he doesn't give up runs. So he's pretty good.
RP - Kelvin Herrera -
He's been nicked a couple times in the last month, but Herrera's performance this season is basically Wade Davis Who Actually Gives Up The Occasional Home Run To Make Things Interesting.
RP - Greg Holland -
Aside form Holland's Meltdown In Milwaukee on June 15th, his mojo is officially back. The Royals have the ridiculous luxury of turning to arguably even better arms in higher leverage spots, and that's certainly part of what allowed Holland to work his way back into form. He's now above a K per IP again, and, while he's still walking a few more batters than were used to, he appears to be out of the early-season woods.
RP - Jason Frasor -
Frasor finally gave up some runs, and he's way more of a bit piece than HDH or even Morales, but he's still doing his thing with reasonable effectiveness when called upon.
RP - Luke Hochevar -
So many things have changed about this team since I started writing here that sometimes it's nice to see Hochevar allow runs in three straight appearances and have a "5" in the ERA column despite bouncing back over the next couple outings.
Welcome Back (in the last month or so): Brandon Finnegan!
The Royals! The Royals! They'll try to avoid being swept by the Astros tonight, in a battle of Volquez vs. Velasquez!