For a couple of weeks there, it had seemed like the Royals had righted the ship. The past four nights have really put an end to that disillusionment, and so my mind has turned to assigning blame, which is every disillusioned fan's favorite pass time. Calling for Cal Eldred's head again did not seem very productive, so instead I pulled some data to see if the offense or the pitching was the main problem.
Hopefully you can follow the chart, the orange is a rolling ten game average of the runs given up and the blue is the rolling average of runs scored by the offense. The black line shows the average runs scored per game in all of MLB, all of this through games on June 27th. It is hard to look at individual games, so the rolling averages smooth it out a little bit. From that we can see that both hitting and pitching have mostly been below league average, hitting literally as seen above, but the pitching too by being above the line (giving up too many). If you look at the compiled averages, of which we have 63 so far in the season, the offense has been below 4.34 runs per game in 45 of them (71.4%). That means over 2/3 of 10 game stretches so far, the offense has been below league average. The pitching is worse at 51 stretches (81.0%) giving up more than average runs per game.
You can see that the winning stretch from June 8 to 24, where the Royals won 9 of 15, the two converge around or better than average for a short stretch, but then the offense starts dropping away again, and now the pitching is heading back up again even before last night which would have made it worse.
It really does feel right now, at least to me, that the pitching is more problematic. I never feel safe during a game, even when the team is up several runs. There are a couple of bright(ish) spots on the pitching side, but bright like a flashlight with old batteries. Brady Singer got through 8 and 1/3 last start managing to bounce back after a rough luck inning, but just two starts before that he walked 5, and hasn't had a really strong start since May 22nd. Greinke was very good in his first start back from injury, and hopefully can repeat that tonight to build some trade value. Daniel Lynch has flashed some positive signs but is so pitch inefficient and inconsistent that it is hard to tell what's going on with him or trust him in any way. Cuas a Barlow are about the only bullpen arms I trust right now, and even Barlow gave up that three run bomb to Ohtani after walking Trout.
Does this matter? Yes, at least partially. Before mid-May the offense was atrociously bad, and consistently so according to the chart. Since then, they have been decent or good with only one bad downturn in early June that bounced back quickly. From the beginning of May, the offense is above 4 runs per game on average, and if I cherry pick a bit, they have been almost exactly league average from May 11th on. The pitching is almost the inverse. Since mid-May the pitching has mostly been more than half a run worse per game than average. They seemed to put it together briefly and now it is going the other direction again. The hitting has sustained since the firing of the hitting coach, though the uptick started a couple days before Bradshaw's departure. Something needs to change with the pitching, and I can't tell you what exactly will fix it because I am not in a position to do so, but if they just keep trotting the same guys out there with nothing different, we should expect the pitching to continue to struggle.