Edinson Volquez has been in the major leagues long enough that he understands even the best pitchers are going to have a bad outing every now and then. Edinson Volquez has also been around long enough to know there have been few outings as bad as the one the Kansas City Royals’ pitcher had on Friday night. The pitcher has had some bad outings for the Royals since he joined the team, but this one, against an Astros team that’s trying to get back in the race, this was a big blow to his own team’s chances at winning the division.
Just how bad was Volquez’s outing against the Astros? Yahoo! Sports has the inning laid out as starting out with a triple, then an RBI single, a recorded out, then another single, another RBI single, a walk, an error that scored a run, another RBI single, and a grand slam. Volquez finally got the final two outs to apparently end the pain. The problem was that Royals’ manager Ned Yost wanted to see whether Volquez had possibly found a way to end the madness.
It turns out Edinson Volquez was not able to staunch the bleeding at all. When he returned in the second inning, he allowed three more batters to reach base before he could record an out. Thanks to being left in the game to get teed off on again, there is talk that Volquez had done something no other major league pitcher had done. When the smoke cleared, the Royals pitcher had allowed 12 runs in one inning or less. The Royals’ starter is the first starter to have that bad a time on the mound.
CBS Sports points out the pitcher achieved a negative 18 game score. There are games that have achieved worse scores than that (we’re not sure how) but most of those bad scores came before World War II. That means it’s safe to say Volquez had the worst outing of the modern era. With that one inning of work, in which he allowed 12 runs (11 earned), eight hits and three walks, the pitcher saw his earned run average go from something that was respectable at 4.12, to one of the worst in the AL among regular starters at 5.15.
Volquez was having a very bad night, but some of the Astros were having rather good nights at his expense. George Springer, in particular had a very good night. Springer started this rally with a leadoff triple and then managed to hit a grand slam. He finished the night going 3-5 with five RBIs. That performance marked the first time since 2004 a player has had a triple and a homer in the same inning.
Volquez’s poor outing meant the Royals were put even further behind first place in the AL Central. The team has been having a bit of a hard time getting back to the top of division for most of the season. The Royals had actually been playing better baseball in the last couple of weeks after they plummeted out of first place in May. Volquez and company had managed to get back into the competition as the Chicago White Sox have found their going a bit rougher.
The bigger worry for the Royals is that Volquez has had some pretty bad outings. In his last outing, a victory only because the Kansas City offense woke up, the pitcher allowed five runs in just 6.1 innings pitched. On May 24, the pitcher was sporting an earned run average of 3.74 but he’s seen his ERA steadily rise over the last month. If the Kansas City Royals want to get back in the playoff race, Edinson Volquez is going to have to put up better outings than historically bad ones.
[Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images]