Bruce Chen From Panama: Royals' Stopper
When your team needs a win, who else would you want on the mound except Bruce Chen?
It is a happy Friday, so we will ignore that Chen allowed 11 baserunners in less than seven innings and allowed just two runs despite only striking out four and getting just one double play. Maybe he was more lucky than good on Thursday night, but it worked out for a much needed win.
Okay, "much needed win" is kind of an overstatement. This team is locked in a downward spiral that the additions of Doug Waechter and Josh Anderson is probably not going to pull them out of. Not that I mind those additions, because, at this point, any change is a good change.
For the record, Chen has thrown 23.1 innings over his last four starts and allowed 30 hits, but just 10 earned runs for a 3.86 earned run average. He has walked six, struck out 19 and hit three batters just for good measure. That is a WHIP of 1.67, which is living pretty dangerously and probably a sign that the Royals should thank Bruce for his fine fill-in work and not press their luck once Gil Meche is ready to return next week.
Of course, this is OUR Kansas City Royals, and they are just as likely to sign Chen to an extension, as send him through waivers this month.
Sarcasm aside, Chen gave the Royals a far better start than that produced by Kyle Davies on Wednesday night. Davies was not only lit up on the mound, but bounced a potential pickoff play at second that was simply one of the four most horrendous throws I have seen in my life (the other three involved slow pitch softball, co-ed play, and a keg of beer).
Wednesday's outing begs the question (and I am hardly the first to come up with this): should the Royals try Davies as a reliever?
That is a somewhat treacherous proposition given Kyle's struggles with control, but opponents are hitting just .231 against him in the first inning of all his starts. They hit .268 in the second inning and .383 in the third.
Again, though, Davies has also walked 14 and struck out 10 in the first inning of his games, so that's a big concern. You wonder, however, if Kyle is focused on throwing his best stuff for one, maybe two innings, if he might be able to conquer that problem.
Just a thought and maybe worth trying since Davies continues to dominate AAA as a starter and struggle mightily in the majors.
Two positives to end the week with:
1. The Royals actually made the right move on Wednesday when they designated Ryan Freel for assignment and kept Mitch Maier on the team. While I think Maier is destined to be a fringe player, I know Freel is/was one.
2. Alex Gordon ACTUALLY MADE AN ADJUSTMENT! His is shortening his swing and keeping both hands on the bat and has been recently rewarded with five hits in two games (albeit two of them on the infield). After two years of a long, pretty swing that missed more often than hit, and murmers that Gordon was too stubborn to adjust his approach, we once again proudly proclaim "any change is good change."
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