To those with an analytical bent, judging a pitcher by their win total has become a wholly archaic endeavor.
For good reason, too: So many factors outside the pitcher’s control play into each night’s result, enough to often render him a random bystander to his actual record.
But for some pitchers, wins and losses still serve as a measuring stick. So Edinson Volquez sounded excited on Monday evening when he record victory No. 10 for Kansas City. The achievement means something to Volquez. He has pitched in the big leagues in parts of 11 seasons. Only four times has he topped 10 victories.
He also referenced the man he replaced in the Royals rotation, James Shields. In his final year for Kansas City, Shields went 14-8. Volquez is well aware of this.
“I want to pass him,” Volquez said after a 9-4 victory over Cleveland. “Go for 15, 16 games.”
The mark is certainly well within sight. Volquez will still make at least 10 more starts for the Royals. But at this juncture, it is also worthwhile to compare his performance to that of Shields last season.
In 21 starts, Volquez has a 3.21 ERA across 126 innings, with 95 strikeouts and a 2.02 strikeout-to-walk ratio. In his first 21 starts last season, Shields carried a 3.70 ERA across 136.1 innings, with 113 strikeouts and a 4.04 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
So while Shields had more encouraging peripheral numbers, when it came to actual run prevention, Volquez has matched his output.
FROM THE STAR
1. The Royals rolled over the Indians — and yawned about it afterward.
2. Johnny Cueto will join the Royals on Tuesday. The team is excited to have him.
3. Kansas City may not be done adding pieces. They are expected to stay in the mix on Oakland’s Ben Zobrist.
4. Sam Mellinger wrote a column digging into the meaning of the Cueto trade: It’s all about October.
THE ROYALS’ PLAYOFF PERCENTAGE (ACCORDING TO BASEBALL PROSPECTUS)
HERE IS SOME ROCK MUSIC
“Can’t Keep Checking My Phone” by Unknown Mortal Orchestra.