There were a lot of questions asked over the winter about the lengths to which the Kansas City Royals went to acquire the starting pitching they so badly needed.
Of course, many of those questions were ridiculous and betrayed a complete ignorance of the situation and needs of the club. But still, the pressure has been on for the team to have a strong start with the ball to show that GM Dayton Moore knew what he was doing.
So far, he has to like what he has seen.
The three pitchers to come to the Royals were James Shields, Wade Davis and Ervin Santana, while convincing Jeremy Guthrie to return was a major bonus as well. After five starts each, those four pitchers are a combined 10-5 with a fantastic 3.21 ERA.
Individually, the numbers are largely just as sparkling. Guthrie still has not been beat, a streak which covers 16 starts stretching back to last August. He has an ERA of 3.06 — it would be excellent anywhere else, but it is only just below average in this quartet.
Santana has had just one rocky start this season, and he has bounced back so well from that he has an ERA of just 2.00 with three wins. Santana is also averaging more than seven innings per start.
Also eating up the innings is the ace, Shields. He has 42 innings in his six starts and an ERA of only 3.00. He can count himself very unlucky to have only two wins as he has been excellent every time he has pitched, andalready has a complete game.
The odd man out is Davis. His rough outing near the end of the month bumped his ERA up from 3.20 to 5.55.
It is this which has propelled the Royals to a 14-10 start and second place in the American League Central. The Royals have not blown the league away with their hitting this year, but they have not needed to. The Royals this year are 7-2 when scoring four runs or more. Four runs a game is not a lot in the American League, but the Royals are not merely getting by with that many — they are winning much more often than not.
Right now, the Royals and their fans have a starting rotation that gives them a chance to win every single day. Every day, provided the rain isn’t falling as it all-too-often is, fans can turn on a game and legitimately expect the Royals to win. It’s early days, but right now it is looking like it was a great winter.