With Dillon Gee coming in relief for two innings in the extra-inning affair against the White Sox on Wednesday, he is unlikely to make his scheduled start on Saturday against the Minnesota Twins, according to manager Ned Yost.
"It’s probably a little iffy," Yost said.
According to Rustin Dodd at the Star, the three options to start would be Chris Young, Brian Flynn, or Matthew Strahm. Who should start for the Royals?
Chris Young was an important part of last year’s rotation but has been a disaster this season. He has a 6.32 ERA and is still third in the league in home runs allowed, despite pitching just 72 2/3 innings. He has been a bit better lately, with a 3.55 ERA in 12 2/3 relief innings since losing his rotation spot again in early July. His main problem has been the home run ball, with an astronomical home run rate of 3.2 per-nine-innings.
The Royals have Young signed to another year, so they may want to see if he can work through his problems now, while they are out of contention, so he can help contribute next year, when they hope to contend. Target Field has also been one of the tougher home run parks this season, which could help Young out. Chris gave up just three runs and one home runs in 19 2/3 innings in Target Field last year.
The lefty had one start this year, giving up three runs in 2 1/3 inning against Cleveland back in July. He has otherwise been perfectly decent, with a 3.05 ERA overall in 35 1/3 innings, with a 4.06 FIP. The Royals could use another lefty in the rotation, and Flynn shows some promise, although his stuff may play better in the bullpen. Flynn had very unimpressive results as a starter in Miami, allowing 22 runs in 22 innings, but that was several years ago.
Flynn threw just two pitches on Wednesday, his first outing in a week, so he should be available to go a few innings on Saturday, although he is not stretched out to last too long.
Strahm is probably the best pitching prospect in the system right now, and he has impressed many with his relief outings over the last two weeks, giving up just two hits and striking out ten in four innings of work. Strahm has been throwing in the mid-90s as a reliever, but he generally sits more in the lower 90s as a starter. He has a starter's repertoire and his upside is much higher than Flynn's or Young's.
The 24-year old might seem like a great fit to help the Royals create another super-pen next year, but starting pitching is a much bigger need. He may not have quite the success as a starter than he has had as a reliever, but the Royals need to find out what he can do. Strahm threw 30 pitches on Tuesday, but would still have to be slowly stretched out to work deeper in games. With his upside, the Royals need to build up his workload and see what he can do as a starter, and Saturday would be a great time to start.