Moylan's numbers skewed by a bit of bad luck

Moylan's numbers skewed by a bit of bad luck

KANSAS CITY -- If you just look at the surface, you'd think Royals right-hander Peter Moylan is having an awful season.

Through 20 relief outings, he has a 9.20 ERA.

But he remains in manager Ned Yost's circle of trust as a late-inning guy because Yost is ignoring the ERA. And rightfully so.

In 16 of those 20 outings, Moylan wasn't touched for a run, and in another he gave up just one. But in the other three, he was blown up for 14 runs, thus ballooning what otherwise would be a very tidy ERA.

"You look at the numbers from the outside, and it's like, 'This guy can't get anyone out,'" Moylan said. "But it feels like I'm throwing well. And I've thrown the ball as well as I [ever] have. Just run into some [lousy] luck."

The numbers from Statcast™ support that. Right-handed batters' exit velocity against Moylan is 85 mph. For left-handers it's just 78 mph. The league average for both is about 87.

That suggests a lot of soft contact.

"His last 10 hits [he has given up], I guarantee eight of them have been jam shots or off the end of the bat or infield hits," Yost said.

Statcast™ also notes that the expected batting average against Moylan should be .251. Instead it's .317. Again, bad luck.

"Every single one of those [bad] outings, there's been a broken-bat hit or a grounder that sneaked through," Moylan said. "I wouldn't say it's all bad luck, but I haven't been able to stop the bleeding once it starts. It's frustrating. [But] I'm not going to change what I do.

"One day it works, or six straight days it works, and then you have one day you give up four or five runs in one inning."

Another reason for the blowups is his usage on those days. Normally, Yost would not leave Moylan and his submarine delivery to face left-handed hitters, as that pitching style is much tougher on righties.

But in Moylan's tough outings, the Royals already were well behind, so there was no reason for Yost to mix and match and waste his other relievers.

"If it's a close game, Ned's not going to use me against those lefties," Moylan said. "But in a game like [Wednesday's loss to the Yankees] ... Then again, it's my opportunity to show I can get those guys out. It's not like I'm getting smashed [by left-handers]."

Yost is insistent that he will keep using Moylan in whatever situation warrants it.

"Why wouldn't I?" Yost said.

Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.