Monday, April 12, 2004

Importance of Pitching
The Royals are 4-2 and in second place in the AL Central. The main thing I've observed with the Royals is their lack of pitching. They've gotten "lucky" in a couple of games, tying or winning in the 9th. But the pitching is concerning me. The Royals started the season with a rotation of all left-handed pitchers. So far, the starters are struggling.

Brian Anderson - 0-0, 10.00 ERA
Darrell May - 0-1, 7.20 ERA
Jeremy Affeldt - 0-1, 9.53 ERA
Jimmy Gobble - 0-0, 0.00 ERA

Gobble is the only starter to have a good outing. The staff "ace," Anderson, has had 2 poor outings. The pitcher that everybody expected to do especially well, Affeldt, struggled in his first start, giving up 9 hits, 2 balks, and no strikeouts.

Dennys Reyes had a spot start yesterday and pitched well. But if the starters don't begin pitching better, this could be a very long season. So far, the bullpen has done well. Five relievers have an ERA of under 2.00, and 4 have an ERA of 0.00. But this bullpen can't keep up this pace for long, especially when the starters are leaving games in the fourth or fifth inning.

This rotation was patched together after injuries to Kyle Snyder and Miguel Asencio. Also out for the year is Runelvys Hernandez, who pitched well early last year. Kevin Appier will be starting in a rehab game for AA Wichita tonight, and if all goes well, he should start for the Royals on Saturday. That will give the Royals a much needed right-hander in the rotation. But Appier is nearing the end of his career, and the Royals can't expect him to be the savior.

For the Royals to contend this season, the top three starters need to begin getting more outs and giving up fewer runs. Affeldt especially needs to begin pitching to his ability. For years, he's been touted as a dominating pitcher. With the blister problems solved, it's time for him to step up and become the stopper for this team.

The offense will play well this season, and should have little trouble putting up runs. Looking at the pitching so far, they will need every one of those runs.

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