One could argue that the Royals have at least been competitive over the last week. Their pitching has been abysmal, but the bats have finally awakened and they’ve at least been relatively close in every game they’ve played. However, barring a minor miracle today the Royals will still end the weekend as the worst team in baseball having been swept by the previous holders of that title, the Oakland Athletics - a team that is trying to lose as many games as possible.
The Royals will send Ryan Yarbrough out to the mound today. The veteran lefty is 0-4 with a 7.40 ERA but with the injury to Kris Bubic, there doesn’t appear to be a viable candidate to replace him. In fact, he may not even be the worst pitcher currently in the rotation. The Royals largely stood pat during the off-season, Yarbrough was their second largest free-agent signing. If this was, as some suggest, truly a season for the Royals to attempt to evaluate what talent they have on the roster and in their minor league system, the prognosis is even more dire than it seemed last season.
The Athletics will counter with rookie right hander Mason Miller. Miller is making his fourth career start but early signs are good. The 24-year-old has a WHIP under one and nearly three times as many strikeouts as walks. He has a 3.52 ERA but he hasn’t yet given up a home run and consequently, his FIP is a minuscule 2.51. It’s too early to say how good he will be, but he’s doing everything right so far.