No. 5 Starter Watch: Royals

It's not much of an upset, but Kyle Davies is officially the Royals' fifth starter. And as Bob Dutton reports, this time Davies is ready:

    Specifically, Davies says it’s time he begins performing like a veteran pitcher with nearly 100 major-league starts on his career resume and move past the inconsistency that has marked his nine-year professional career.

    “It has to be something I can’t do anymore,” he said. “You can’t keep going through the same things over and over and over again. You have to learn from them. And you know what? It’s time for me to do that.

    “I’m old enough to do it. I’ve had enough experience to do it. And I need to do it. My whole goal of the season is to try to stay on an even keel. Just pitch. Get ahead with strike one, and then just pitch. Let everything fall where it falls.”

    It is now official that Davies will get the chance to put that resolve into practice. Manager Trey Hillman confirmed Wednesday that Davies will be part of the five-man rotation that opens the regular season.

    “You certainly would like (for him) to not have the lapses in lack of command,” Hillman said, “especially with the fastball. But you know what? For the time being, as long as he can control the damage, I’m resigned to the fact (he will have those lapses).

I suppose this means the it's-so-crazy-it-just-might-work idea of turning Kyle Farnsworth into a starter is officially dead. Oddly enough, among the seven Royals who started at least twice this spring, Farnsworth's 3.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio was the best. But Farnsworth gave up a couple of home runs and racked up a 7.98 ERA, and I won't be so impolite as to mention that Davies' ERA (8.47) was even higher.

Davies keeps getting chances, I suppose, because he's pitched well from time to time. As Dutton notes, "Davies closed last season at 5-1 with a 2.95 ERA in his final seven starts. He also finished the 2008 season by going 4-1 with a 2.27 ERA in five starts."

You know what, though? It's a funny thing about those final seven starts last season. Davies pitched 40 innings.

He struck out 30 hitters. He walked 24.

Davies has started 99 games in the major leagues. His ERA in those games is 5.46. He's got a lovely ERA in Triple-A action, but even there his strikeout-to-walk ratio is just a hair over 2.

I used to think that Hiram Kyle Davies might be a pretty good pitcher. A year or two ago, I realized I'd been wrong. At some point this summer the Royals are going to catch up with me.