Vargas vs. Santana through 70

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The Kansas City Royals are (at the time writing this) one and a half games up on The Detroit Tigers in first place in The American League Central, quite an amazing feat considering two weeks ago they were in the cellar. (I have been waiting to type that sentence for a very long time now.)

They have reeled of nine wins in a row, cooling of both The Cleveland Indians and D-Town Tigers. In their last two starts, they’ve made two Cy Young winning pitchers look like Aaron Brooks (sorry Brooks).

The power bats of Butler, Gordon and Mike Mousatakas (who indecently has raised his batting average 25 points) have come around and the starting pitching has been outstanding. We knew, or at least hoped, this was coming.

But one major question kept coming up as we went into the 2014 season; was who was going to replace Santana? Ervin Santana had rejected The Royals long term initial offer which created a large hole in the line-up. Dayton more, knowing this was the now or never season for The Royals, reached into his bag of tricks and secured Jason Vargas from The Angels, giving him a 4 year 32 million dollar deal.

Santana waited everyone out (some say foolishly) but due to several injuries in their starting lineup, The Atlanta Braves signed Ervin in March. The two sides agreed on a one year 14.1 million dollar deal. There were a lot of fans in and around Kansas City who really, really wanted The Royals to re-sign Santana no matter what the cost. Vargas missed much of the previous year due to a blood clot in his shoulder, making him seem like a liability-or so it seemed. Here is how the two stack up so far this year:
Record ERA Innings pitched SO BB HR Hits
Jason Vargas 7-2 3.25 99.2 71 25 11 96
Ervin Santana 5-4 4.12 83.0 72 26 8 83
Though the two are pretty close in all of the categories, Vargas has the advantage through the first 70 games. He has been everything The Royals could have hoped for and much more. In his ten starts this year, Vargas has had only two games in which he didn’t go 6 innings or more.

In a division where teams could find themselves in last place in a week’s time, starting pitching is paramount .Starting pitchers going deep into games will be very important as The Royals go down the stretch to September. The ability to keep the bull pen rested could prove to be a key to The Royals either winning the division or taking one of the wild card spots. The Royals starting 5 have been exceptional and Jason Vargas is a huge piece in the machine. His next start is scheduled for this coming Saturday against Chris Young of the Mariners. Young is a hard throwing right handed pitcher who is off to a great start, with a record of 6-4 and a 3.40 ERA.
photo credit: Keith Allison via photopin cc

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Author: John Keeling

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