Nobody with a soul cheers for anyone to get hurt, especially anyone on your hometown team, but a recent injury sustained by a Kansas City Royals pitcher could be sneaky-good news for KC and their fans.
Bruce Chen, a lovable fellow I would never wish ill of, will skip his next start due to a swollen disk that’s painfully pressing against nerves in his back. Chen says it’s causing him significant but temporary pain, so the Royals decided to skip his start tonight in lieu of an epidural and the three-day healing process that follows.
Bruce keeps insisting that his injury hasn’t affected his play, but the Star’s Andy Mccullough contends that Chen’s been managing this injury for weeks and Yost had planned to skip him tonight even before yesterday’s epidural. Fans in KC can only hope Bruce is being polite and professional here, avoiding any possible excuses for his poor performance on the mound, which doesn’t sound unlike the universally-respected veteran.
His abysmal 7.45 ERA is miles away from the consistent, albeit average production fans have seen from Chen in years past, so a return to decent pitching for Bruce after this epidural would surely indicate that this nagging pain has a lot to do with his recent struggles. When/if Bruce returns, his position in the rotation should help him improve his ERA immensely.
The current structure of KC’s starting rotation is all wrong. Letting Bruce and fellow soft-tossing finesse pitcher Jason Vargas start back-to-back games is an obvious and egregious mistake. Sandwiching a start from a fireballer like Yordano Ventura between the two will help out the entire pitching staff.
If he doesn’t get back to pitching like the tricky Chen of old, KC will soon have to consider making Danny Duffy their fifth starter. Then, like I’ve said before, the Royals need to hire Bruce as a pitching coach ASAP. Fans can make fun of him all they wish, but the dude’s crafty, and everybody on this planet likes him.