By Blaidd Drwg
Before you get too excited about the Mariners taking 3 out of 4 against the Royals and putting up 31 runs in the process, the Royals probably have the worst starting rotation in the majors. Let’s take a look at the guys who the Mariners faced in the 4 game series:
Game 1: Jonathan Sanchez (current ERA – 7.76) Pitching line – 1.1 IP, 7 H, 7 ER
Sanchez, once a rising star in the Giants organization, fell completely off a cliff this season, walking 44 guys in 53 innings and sporting a stellar 2.04 WHIP. Things got so bad with Sanchez that the Royals designated him for assignment after this disastrous start against the Mariners (Yet somehow the Rockies had enough interest in him to trade a somewhat useful player for him on Friday).
Game 2: Ryan Verdugo (current ERA – 32.40) Pitching line – 1.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER
Verdugo was making his MLB Debut in this game. He was the “other guy” the Royals got with Jonathan Sanchez for Melky Cabrera. Verdugo is 25 and had not pitched particularly well in the minors in his career and never above AAA before this season; was his debut line much of a surprise?
Game 3: Bruce Chen (current ERA – 5.57) Pitching line – 5.1 IP, 7 H, 4 ER
The “ACE” of the Royals staff. He pitched somewhat decently; I will put heavy emphasis on somewhat, because frankly, that is not a good pitching line. But heck, it can’t be that bad, the Royals actually won that game
Game 4: Will Smith (current ERA – 7.97) Pitching line – 6.1 IP, 8 H, 4 ER
Smith wasn’t terrible, but he was going against Felix, so he wasn’t winning that game no matter how well he pitched. At least in Smith’s defense, he is only 22 and seems to have some upside potential. Then again, he does pitch for the Royals, so maybe not.
Speaking of Felix, he dispatched the Royals, needing just 89 pitches over 8 innings before giving way to Lucas Luetge in the 9th. Felix is in the zone right now – he is dominant and he is being economical with his pitches. He has given up only 2 ER in his last 24.2 innings. It might have something to do with the 21 strikeouts and his amazing Ground Ball to Fly Ball Ratio – 36 GB to 23 FB. I am not sure what adjustment he made, but he is back to getting guys out on the ground. Over his career his ration has been 1.24 to 1 GB to FB, this year is has been .9 to 1 GB to FB. Welcome back, Felix.