After a strong homestand that had some of us wondering if the Royals might have figured some stuff out, the team has begun their latest road trip with an absolute thud, losing the first two games to the Brewers. Today they have an opportunity to turn things around behind the ravening right arm of Jordan Lyles.
Lyles pitched a complete game loss his last time out. It wasn’t exactly a bad luck loss, though, as he did still give up four runs. But he might be one of only a handful of pitchers to read the 200-inning plateau this year. Do you think the Royals might add a flag for that? The Royals' biggest free-agent signing of the past off-season has a 6.20 ERA and both Baseball-Reference and FanGraphs agree that regardless of the number of innings pitched, he has been below replacement level as a pitcher.
We talked about this on the podcast and Max mentioned it in a recent piece of his own but, despite declaring this season an evaluation year, the Royals are treating innings pitched as something to get through instead of an opportunity to try out a bunch of pitchers or ideas or both. Instead of paying Lyles $17M to “eat innings” they could have been signing minor league free agents and other guys who otherwise aren’t getting chances and see if they could find any diamonds in the rough. Instead, as has long been an issue with the team, they chose to go with a known quantity even when the quantity is known to be poor.
For their part, the Brewers are asking Colin Rea to complete the sweep. Ordinarily, it wouldn’t be a good bet. He’s 32 year-old and has a career 4.90 ERA, nearly matched by his season ERA of 4.94. However, these are the Royals, and there’s no real reason to use your very best against them.
Here's how we'll take the field behind Jordan Lyles for the series finale in Milwaukee.#WelcomeToTheCity pic.twitter.com/d2kcasYjns— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) May 14, 2023
Mom would want us to sweep— Milwaukee Brewers (@Brewers) May 14, 2023
: @620wtmj #ThisIsMyCrew | @fleet_farm pic.twitter.com/UhIDhNnPcL