Bullpen Must Improve to Keep Kansas City Royals Competitive
Perennial smack-talking aimed at the Kansas City Royals and their almost constantly disappointed fanbase has officially begun for 2014, but the team and its fans should consider themselves lucky. An abundance of missteps in every facet of the game that isn’t starting pitching has already left fans wondering how much better the start of KC’s season could have been, but a .500 record posted while stumbling through the beginning of the year means the Royals have retained their hope.
Thanks in large part to a shaky bullpen, KC has yet to translate that hope into winning baseball. The stat that really stands out right now is the 36 ERA lefty Tim Collins has recorded in two outings. That comes from only two hits in those two outings that scored four, but Collins isn’t alone in his struggles. Not counting the injured Francisley Bueno, three Royals relievers are allowing more than 10.5 hits per nine innings. At least Collins’ inability to perform could be blamed on a strained throwing elbow that planted him on the 15 day DL.
The rotation continues to perplex the league, but the relief crew has played a major part in every Royals loss this year. Collins, Wade Davis and the usually great Greg Holland all have losses on their records that should have been wins for the starting five. If this instability continues, the Royals’ bullpen, which just last season was its strongest facet, will become its most unpredictable.
Someone in the Royals’ booth dropped a great number about KC being more than 50 games above .500 last year when scoring four runs or more. That pattern seems to have prevailed, as the Royals are undefeated when scoring four or more in 2014. Stellar starting pitching and a few timely hits that got them this far and left them with a great opportunity to stay competitive. To give the fans the consistent winning ball they so fervently desire, the bullpen needs to shape up soon.