The Kansas City Royals bullpen will be short-handed for the time being as closer Greg Holland recovers from a sore elbow. 

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Wade Davis to Take Over as Closer

Tuesday, Sept. 22

Per Jeffrey Flanagan of, Royals manager Ned Yost initially announced Tuesday afternoon that Wade Davis will serve as the closer “for (the) next few days” with Holland battling “tightness” in his elbow. Not long after that announcement, however, Flanagan reported “now Yost says Davis will close the rest of the way and playoffs.”       

It’s been clear for some time that something is wrong with Holland. The right-hander averaged at least 95.8 mph with his fastball from 2012-14 and had a 1.88 ERA with 284 strikeouts in 196.1 innings but hasn’t been as dominant this season with a 3.83 ERA and 49 strikeouts in 44.2 innings.

Along with those decreased stats, ESPN Stats & Info noted on Sept. 19 that Holland’s fastball velocity this month is the worst of his career:

The good news is Davis can fill any role out of the bullpen, sporting a tidy 0.88 ERA with 70 strikeouts and 31 hits allowed in 61.2 innings this season. 

However, losing Holland to this injury and seeing his velocity drop the way it has should give Kansas City fans pause heading into the postseason. The Royals bullpen—specifically the trio of Holland, Davis and Kelvin Herrerawas the team’s biggest asset en route to the World Series.

Without one part of the three-headed monster pitching at his best heading into October, the Royals could be more vulnerable than they have looked at any point during the regular season.


Stats courtesy of FanGraphs.

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