Leftridge: Royals Can’t Stick with Holland Much Longer

Kansas City Royals Greg Holland (56) in action during a game against the Chicago White Sox on April 3, 2013 at US Cellular Field in Chicago, IL. The White Sox beat the Royals 5-2.

I feel as bad saying it as you probably feel reading it, but Greg Holland should no longer be closing for the Kansas City Royals.

Look, I love Holland.

He has been an immeasurably important piece of an outstanding bullpen for a few years now, and his contributions to last year’s success will be forever remembered fondly. But the fact of the matter is, I don’t think this is the same Greg Holland.

With the occasional exception, this Greg Holland seems busted and ineffective, an actual liability in an otherwise solid pen. Oh, he still has his flashes—he’s hit 95 on the radar gun in his past two appearances, with some solid movement on his fastball—but his dominance, it would appear, might be gone.

I don’t know if it’s a lingering injury they’re unwilling to admit, if something in his mechanics went awry, or if he just flat-out lost the ability to command his pitches the way he used to, but something doesn’t seem right.

Sometimes, people just lose it. And while such declination is usually reserved for pitchers OVER the age of 29, it’s not unheard of.

My fear is that he’s just toast. (Although I’m totally willing to accept that this could be a lingering arm issue. He spent time on the DL with a bicep problem, and sat for a spell last week because his arm was “cranky,” whatever the hell that means.)

Regardless of reason, this season has all of the markings of a substantial breakdown. His strikeout-to-walk ratio is 2.04, compared to 4.5 (2014) and 5.72 (2013). His WHIP—walks, plus hits per inning—is a robust 1.425, which is up from 0.914 last year and 0.866 the year before. And finally, his FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching, which basically calculates a pitcher’s effectiveness minus defense) is 3.14, which isn’t terrible, exactly, but it’s not great, either. (For comparison’s sake, it was 1.83 last year, and 1.36 the year before.)

So this whole year has been subpar for sure, but the descent has REALLY manifested since the All Star Break. In the 15 games he’s pitched since should-be-closer Wade Davis dazzled in Cincinnati, opponents are hitting .339 off of Holland, and he’s sporting a 6.08 ERA. His average velocity is down and he’s not locating his pitches. He throws strikes, but those strikes are getting crushed.ows_137515055119432

And that crow just won’t caw, which I think is a real expression.

Therefore, you’ve gotta make a move to solidify the bullpen before October. Davis needs to be closing, Kelvin Herrera needs to the eighth inning guy, and the seventh can belong to some rotation of Holland, Franklin Morales and Ryan Madson. (Provided nothing is wrong with Madson, which, well…)

Because if they don’t, and Holland can’t right his ship (which may not even be “rightable,” I’m afraid), he is going to cost this team games when it matters the most.

And for a team with so much promise, that would be a damn shame.

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13 Responses to Leftridge: Royals Can’t Stick with Holland Much Longer

  1. CG says:

    Lefty I’m afraid you hit it on the head, Holland may be getting past it a bit, not nearly as effective as last year. Yes a big of an issue, we need to see more if he continues to be this off, then yes Wade should close, your idea is correct. Agreed. Toronto will be hard to beat our lack of power may hurt us. nobody with 20 homers is an issue.

    • Hot Carl says:

      “nobody with 20 homers is an issue.”

      We all said that last year, too, and it wasn’t much of an issue.

      • harley says:

        again…carl is correct. We had few home runs and few rbi’s…and we were within 90 feet of taking the series into extra innings….not bad for a choppy/infield hitting baseball team in a small market.
        We’ll probably never have a big time home run hitter in kaufman stadium. Field isn’t condusive to home runs. That’s why yost plays the contact hitting game.
        And if you look at it…its worked great!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. miket. says:

    hell, i don’t know, but from my uneducated point of view, i’d just rest the guy, and rest him some more. i know you can’t have him taking up a roster spot if he’s not working, but you don’t really want to send him down to AAA and i don’t think putting him on DL is a good idea either, but if that’s the only choice, do it now and get him back before the post-season.

    duffy starting to cause concern too, now. ruh roh….

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Duffy has been a concern for me all season. When the playoffs come, though, it probably won’t be an issue. You don’t need him in the rotation. Then you’re just rolling the dice with Ventura.

      • harley says:

        Lefty….let me set this straight.
        1. Holland can still throw the ball. He’s still one of our
        3 best relievers…but remember in the playoffs you don’t
        need 5 or 6 relievers….just like you don’t need 4 or 5
        starters. With kc’s pitching staff yost has to figure out
        how to use his pitchers most effectively.
        They’re the best record in al….and you’re still arguing about
        this rotation.
        Eery good pitcher goes thru down times/games. Verhlander
        did and look at him now. Cueto had some tough outings
        since coming to kc as he did in cincy.
        Yost needs to analyze those pitchers and read the stats.
        The most times a hitter sees a pitcher the more times
        that hitter does good against that pitcher.
        Look at kc staffs hit avg. the first time they face a batter/
        second time they see that batter/third time they face the
        same batter. Do you see a difference?
        Holland might be trade bait after the season…but I’m going
        with him. He’s hellacious in playoffs but it appears batters
        are catching his style of pitching.
        Its up to yost to use these relievers in the right way.
        But remember…behind those pitchers is one of thebest
        defenses in baseball. You can’t strike out everyone…
        and as you go into the playoffs you need fewer starters
        and relievers to be workhorses. Reember san fran last year
        ad their starter who beat us? If you one or two hot
        starters and 2 or 3 hot relievers you can win a world series.
        I could see Holland be traded. I think he’s getting 8 million
        so they have some relievers that could take his place.
        But I’d wait before saying get rid of Holland. Lets see
        what he does come crunch time.

  3. Shawnster says:

    The front-office seems to get it this year, they traded for Zobrist and benched Infante. I think they understand the precious gift they have been given. I think if a save situation is called for in the playoffs, it will be Wade who answers the bell in the ninth. In years past GMDM & Ned the head would’ve rode Holland’s weak arm to the bitter end. I also think that we have seen the sad end to the Rios saga as well. A platoon of Dyson/Orlando is upcoming and I’m actually fine with it. They won’t let a couple of weak links break this chain.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Well said, and I think you’re absolutely right. I DO think it’s more input from Moore, though. I don’t know if he was holding back early on, or didn’t have the support of ownership, but I think he’s responsible for more of these intraday decisions. I think Yost is just playing along at this point, which is fine. And good.

  4. Mysterious J says:

    Gosh if only we had a lot of meaningless games coming up to determine who is healthy & ready to help us in the post-season and who isn’t?

    Oh wait…we will have 15-20 games to do just that.

    • Brandon Leftridge says:

      Well, as much as I’d like this last month to be a time to let everyone sit and get their sh*t together, you still gotta be cognizant of home-field advantage. No part of me wants extra games IN Toronto.

      • Mysterious J says:

        Newsflash: we are likely to have around 15 meaningless games AFTER wrapping up home field.

        I certainly agree that I don’t want any part of an extra game in Houston OR Toronto.

  5. Big says:

    Dead on. Wade Davis needs to be closing. Duffy is a definite concern. Bottom line is the Royals can’t beat Toronto right now. Nobody can. Unless they just tank, that lineup is going to bring a title to Toronto. Having watched every Royals game this year, they are a very good team but they have some glaring flaws. Lack of power, some hitters swing at anything, closer who can close, Cueto losing location, odds against winning ALCS back to back. Hopefully I am wrong about all. Regardless, it’s now fun to watch these days.

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