The Royals now have eight wins and three losses, and all three losses have come in games Chris Young started.
Overall, Young has not pitched well — he’s got a 7.90 ERA — but he’s also faced some tough matchups.
When Ian Kennedy developed a tender hamstring, he was moved down in the Royals’ pitching rotation to give him more recovery time ... and Young was summoned.
So the guy who was originally slated to pitch near the bottom of the rotation — Young — was moved near the top of the rotation, and that changed the pitching matchups.
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So far, Young has matched up with:
1.) Noah Syndergaard: 9-7 with a 3.24 ERA in 2015
2.) Collin McHugh: 19-7 with a 3.89 ERA in 2015
3.) Sonny Gray: 14-7 with a 2.73 ERA in 2015
And when they met, each of Young’s matchup opponents pitched about as well as advertised. Syndergaard threw six innings and gave up no earned runs, McHugh threw seven innings and gave up no earned runs and Gray threw six innings and gave up two runs, one earned.
Meanwhile, Kennedy got slotted near the bottom of the Royals’ rotation, and that changed his matchups as well.
So far Kennedy has matched up with:
1.) Tommy Milone: 9-5 with a 3.92 ERA in 2015
2.) Doug Fister: 5-7 with a 4.19 ERA in 2015
Neither of those guys is chopped liver, but neither of them pitched well when they faced the Royals. Milone threw 4.2 innings and gave up four runs, two earned; Fister threw 5.2 innings and gave up six earned runs.
Don’t take this as making excuses for Young; with the exception of his first start against the Mets — five innings, two earned runs — Young has pitched poorly and Kennedy has pitched brilliantly. But if Young had been pitching at the bottom of the Royals’ rotation, he might have at least one win by now.
Before long, the matchups will get out of order and Young won’t always be facing a top-of-the rotation opponent. Young has admitted to having mechanical issues, and if he gets those straightened out, that will help as well.
But one of the reasons you ask a veteran like Young to take on a tough task is his mental toughness. Young is unlikely to freak out over a poor start. He’s been around long enough to know the season has ups and downs and he needs to ride this out.
Royals fans should try to emulate that mental toughness.
If Young is still pitching poorly in a month, deal with it then ... but for now, everyone needs to realize Young has been given a tough row to hoe.
Good and bad mound visits
Royals catcher Salvador Perez made a mound visit Friday when the count was 0-2.
Some consider that a bad mound visit: The pitcher has the hitter on the ropes; do not break his rhythm.
If the catcher wants to know what the pitcher wants to do at 0-2, just runs through the signs until the pitcher finds one he likes.
A better mound visit would be when a pitcher is 2-0; things are not going well in the at-bat and the pitcher might need a break to think about what he wants to do next.
That doesn’t mean every 0-2 mound visit is a bad one. If there’s some other issue that needs to be straightened out, by all means go to the mound. But if all the catcher is asking is what pitch the pitcher wants to throw, ask it by staying behind the plate and giving the signs.