This Monday evening, the White Sox square off against the Kansas City Royals and noted terrible starter, Kyle Davies. Much has been written on the travails of Davies' career, and the arguments often made about him have been underscored by Davies recording a 7.74 ERA (in this run environment) in 50 IP on the season. Sensing the opportunity for history, the Royals have acted by making Davies the impetus for a bizarro six-man rotation.
The bizarro in this case is that where the White Sox made an extra space for Phil Humber in the rotation because he was pitching so well, the Royals have made space for Kyle Davies for no good reason.
But! While Davies is certainly bad, he is also a pitcher in the major leagues being paid millions of dollars, so there's probably a nugget of competence to his game that we're overlooking. Sure enough, Davies is striking out 6.3 batters per 9 innings (hard to accomplish for a novice), and has a 4.95/4.79 FIP/xFIP. Essentially, he's pitching as well as Philip Humber was expected to do, with two particular conditions affecting his results.
1. .381 BABIP - In other words, if a ball is put in play against Kyle Davies, it is a hit. There are no exceptions.
2. 58.8% LOB rate - In other words, if a runner reaches base against Kyle Davies, he will score. There are no exceptions.
I don't usually do previews, and even rarer is it that I do them 10 minutes before the game, but with the White Sox struggles against mediocre starters, and the divine mediocrity of this starter, it struck me that there are only three possible results.
1. The White Sox score 10 runs in 3 innings off Davies, and win the game.
2. The White Sox score only a single run (probably a Mark Teahen solo shot, just to be obnoxious) in 8 innings off Davies, who exits the game to rousing applause. In a wave of emotion, Royals GM Dayton Moore signs Davies to an 16-year contract extension, only for Davies to reveal himself to still be quite middling. This blunder harpoons the franchise, as well as a loaded 2014 Royals squad that would otherwise use the AL Central as its snot rag. The White Sox lose Monday's affair, but record a rare win in the long game.
3. The White Sox score 4 runs in 6 innings off Davies, and there is no measure in which they are winners.
Or it could be something else. Baseball is all random variation. Every day is different. Players are like snowflakes, in the sense that too much heat makes them melt.