A report came out on Tuesday, April 29th that Bruce Chen had an epidural because of an inﬂamed disc in his back. Chen is a starter for the Kansas City Royals and he has deﬁnitely struggled so far this season.
He started the season strong, giving up 1 earned run against the Chicago White Sox, striking out a season high of seven, in his first start. Since then, however, his last three games have not gone as smoothly. Chen gave up a combined 15 runs in those three starts to set his ERA at 7.35, which is the highest of all Royals starting pitching. Another less than impressive stat is that he has only made it to the 6th inning once and that was in his ﬁrst start against the White Sox.
This issue was sure to come up at some point in the season if Chen didn’t improve his stats, but who knew that we would be talking about this so soon. What are some of the things the Royals could do to their rotation?
The first candidate for the job would be Danny Duffy. Duffy missed most of last season with Tommy John surgery but came in at the end of the season and had some impressive innings. The problem with Duffy seems to be his conﬁdence; it looked as though he was getting on track with a few impressive innings where he got out of some jams in some big games. Then against the Baltimore Orioles he blew up in the 10th inning and the Royals lost the game. I am curious to see if that blow up destroyed his conﬁdence and set him back to the starting blocks.
Another option could be a starter from last season, Wade Davis. Davis had his struggles last year but did end up ﬁnishing the season with a 5.32 ERA, which isn’t super impressive but still got the Royals 8 wins. This is one of the options that I personally am not very fond of because I feel as though Davis is better out of the bullpen. Currently he is at a 3.18 ERA and he seems to ﬁt this role well for this team.
Of these two options I would prefer the Royals go the route of Duffy. I think that of the two he has more potential to stay in the rotation once Chen gets healthy again.
As far as injuries go, this one will hurt the rotation far less than it would have if any of the other four starters would have gotten injured. Chen is a big part of the Royals pitching staff but I am curious to see how long he can hold on to his role as a starter if he has to miss a few starts. Leave comments below on what you think the Royals should do in this situation.
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~ Josef Smith, @joe9311