Oct 12, 2015; Houston, TX, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Ryan Madson (46) reacts after Houston Astros shortstop Carlos Correa (1) hits a two-run home run during the seventh inning in game four of the ALDS at Minute Maid Park. Mandatory Credit: Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Breaking the Bullpen
Heading into this season, many believed that the Royals’ biggest strength as a team was their bullpen. While it might still be, there are underlying fractures in the armor that led the Royals to the World Series last year. Since August, key relievers have struggled to get their jobs done. The normally rock solid duo of Herrera and Hochevar allowed opponent’s OPS’ of .857 and .806 respectively during the last moth of the season. The Royals lost their closer in Greg Holland and were forced to promote Wade Davis to the role. A job he’s done well, but by forcing the #1 set up man in baseball to take over the duties as closer, your new setup man isn’t the #1 set up man in baseball.
Indeed the postseason has not been kind to many of the Royals’ relievers. Ryan Madson and Danny Duffy had ERA’s of over 9 during the course of the ALDS. Duffy figures to be a key matchup pitcher as he’s the key lefty on an all right handed pitching staff. While right handed pitchers fare better against the Blue Jays than their southpawed counterparts, you don’t want your matchup pitcher to have an ERA of 13. While some are calling for the pen to be the downfall for the Jays, these cracks in the armour mean they’re far from doomed. Especially if an overworked relief corpse begins to break down.
Next: Martin guns down runners