The Royals made it almost halfway through the season before things started unraveling. A year that started off so brightly with the Royals finishing with the best record in MLB at the end of April sees the team nearly out of contention just two months later. On top of that, the Royals are now firmly in the midst of bizarre roster moves. All year long they’ve treated Edward Olivares as more of a yo-yo than a potential help to the major league roster. Now they have at least two of their starters that they’re allowing to pitch while injured in short bursts. And today, for the second week in a row, Kyle Zimmer will act as the opener while the team has no designated bulk man behind him - also for the second week in a row. Matheny admitted last night that today’s starter depended on how things played out in that game.
I praised Mike Matheny’s bullpen management even in mid-May but this all seems incredibly weird. The Royals haven’t exactly had a ton of success handling their pitching this year, despite their top pitching prospects. This is beginning to feel like the kind of straw-grasping we saw in the mid-2000s when guys like Kyle Davies were the best the team could send to the mound and they tried tricks like having him pitch a simulated first inning so he might not get rocked so hard out of the gate. If you don’t remember, it didn’t work.
The Rangers will counter with Kyle Gibson. Gibson didn’t make it out of the first inning on Opening Day against the Royals but since then he’s put together the beginnings of what would be the best season of his career at age 33.
I don’t have a lot of hope for the Royals, today.