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Mental Ward: A wish for things that work

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This is mostly about Danny Duffy and Yordano Ventura, but also hardcore bands of the early 2000s.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Every once in a while, I find myself listening to music that I used to listen to in middle school/high school. The angsty, pubescent rage years were often filled with the likes of Poison the Well and Zao, both of whom I return to more frequently than I care to admit.

Each band has their respective opus. For Poison The Well, it is very clearly The Opposite Of December... A Season of Separation. The song "Nerdy" was their breakout hit, which has the quaint effect of being a love song rendered in the hardcore style:

Despite being their first album, it remains their most well-known.

Zao, on the other hand, has a more complicated history. The band is more of an in-name-only affair at this point, having gone through multiple iterations and permutations over the past two decades. The permutations of every member of the band is a veritable who's who of the Christcore scene from that era:

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

But if you had to pin down an album, most would turn to Liberate Te Ex Inferis as the band's trademark. A dark, brooding—even for hardcore—concept album (though the band claims little input on the actual labeling and layout of the album) centered around traversing the various circles of Hell while simultaneously referencing the Paul W.S. Anderson film Event Horizon at least dozen times. It's a thing of beauty in its own way:

There are others from that weird, amorphous period of my life. Kittie. Killswitch Engage. Mudvayne. So on and so forth.

It's usually nostalgia that brings me back. Some sort of desire to remember a past that, although it may not have been pristine (or objectively good), was still my own, and present throughout this trip down memory lane is an unshakeable desire for everything to go right for once; a wish for things that work. In a time and place of Royals baseball where answers were outnumbered by questions 100 to 1, simple desires seemed extravagant.

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Lately, for the Royals anyway, satisfactions have been more forthcoming, but simple desires remain unfulfilled, particularly one that they desperately need to have filled: Yordano Ventura. Regardless of what success Kansas City may or may not have, Ventura becoming a solid, consistent starting pitcher is one of those things that will have to work.

This season has been nothing short of an enigma. At various times, Ventura has looked like a top-flight starter, a back-end scrub, a middling jobber, a quality arm, and a bust, sometimes within the same game. His strikeout rate (6.54 K/9) is two points below his average over the previous two seasons. His walk rate (6.12 BB/9) is the highest of any starting pitcher who threw at least 40 innings since the start of 2013 (and it is the fourth-highest if you bother to include relievers).

To put it another way, since he became a full-season player, there has not been a starting pitcher who has given up as many walks per nine innings as Yordano Ventura has who was also still around to throw as many innings as he has already in 2016.

On the flip side, Danny Duffy has made his return to the rotation this past week. So far, things have been going well. Extremely well. You might even say they have been gnar.

But Duffy's struggles last season, which prompted a move to the bullpen to begin 2016 in the first place, are still fresh in the collective memory of Royals fans. Hopefully this is the promise of good things to come, because long-term rotation solutions are not in the prospective mirror for the time being.

Is it a lot to put on two guys? Maybe. Particularly in light of the fact that Duffy might not be around after next season, but a decent showing would put him in the conversation for an extension fur sure.

It's just not very possible to keep sustaining rotations on the likes of Edinson's Volquez and Ian's Kennedy. The struggles (and injuries) of ChKris Kross are enough evidence of the fickle nature of veteran pitching.

A rotation is like the clockwork of a time piece. Cogs and springs and hinges, levers and cantilevers. Small, simple things, and within them a wish for things that work.