Monday, June 20, 2005

Weekend Nutshell

Nutshell: Two losses to two great starting pitchers, and a victory against a mediocre pitcher. No shame in that game. This is exactly how I expected the weekend to unfold, and happily I was not disappointed.

I'm not sure what to think about Runelvys Hernandez at this point. Its fair to say that he's still in the recovery phase from Tommy John surgery that cost him 18 months of pitching, so his improvement throughout the season is going to be a better measure of his standing than his absolute performance, especially early in th season. He's put strung together good performances in 5 of his last 6 starts, and perhaps more encouraging is that his strikeout total has inched upward (7.2K/9 in those last 6 starts compared with 4.4K/9 in all prior starts. But the fact is that Elvys is never going to be a strikeout pitcher, so he needs to win with a) mental toughness, which I think he possesses in huge quantities, and b) effective - not pinpoint - control, which has eluded him throughout his entire career. Until he learns to throw the ball where he wants most of the time, he's not going to live up to his billing as a potential #3 starter.

But in any case, he had a great "stop-the-bleeding" start yesterday.

-- D.J. Carrasco, coming off another quality start on Saturday night, now leads the Royals with a 15.9 VORP after just 7 starts this season. He's been a very pleasant surprise this season, and his primary statistics are quite impressive:

45.2 IP, 41H, 1HR, 2.56 ERA, 1.18 WHIP

He's been a catalyst for the Royals' recent turnaround, but count me a skeptic, primarily because of his anemic 15/13 K to BB ratio. 2.5 K/9 innings and an unusually low .258 BABIP is recipe for regression. I'm not taking away the things he's accomplished thus far, and he'll continue to reasonably effective if he can keep the ball around the plate and avoid the long ball, but with those kinds of peripherals its highly unlikely that he'll be able to maintain the success he's had thus far.

-- Injury Report. Shockingly, Mike Sweeney's freak-injured wrist is not improving and he may need to go on the DL. He has a ligament tear in his wrist (which is not new apparently; is this not something you'd want to repair?).
"With me being out, I'm hurting myself and hurting the team," he said.

Indeed. Any thoughts the Royals may have entertained about trading Sweeney are being dashed by Sweeney's uncanny ability to injure himself in odd and interesting ways.

But we EXPECT Mike to get hurt. Of more concern is Ambiorix Burgos' sudden right shoulder injury. Buddy Bell did nothing to ease the anxiety of the masses: “Hopefully, it’s minor. But anytime you have an injury like that to a power pitcher like that, you are concerned.”

A few positive notes: Denny Bautista will be starting a rehab assignment soon in Omaha, and it sounds like Brian Anderson is on schedule to return sometime in July (remember him?). The Royals will be faced with some interesting decisions when two starters come back into the fold. Who will be demoted?

-- Leo Nunez. When he's on, he's effective. When he's not, he's showing zero mental toughness. He just collapses. He's not ready.

-- Zack Greinke? He's pitched woefully for a month and the Royal brass does not seem particularly enamored with his willingness to learn. Buddy Bell seems to have served notice that he's prepared to let him decay on the mound when he's now pitching well, which is a good first step (as long as he doesn't throw 130 pitches). Perhaps a stint in Omaha would help his performance and his graciousness.


Post a Comment

<< Home