Luke Hochevar for the Kansas City Royals baseball team gave up eight runs in just one inning last night in Baltimore. Luke coming off of his best start of the season (8 2/3 innings one earned run) started the game with three great innings. Then the fourth inning came and it all fell apart. In that one inning the Orioles sent 13 batters to the plate and Luke gave up 6 hits, 3 walks and threw a wild pitch. After that crazy fourth inning where 8 runs were scored, Ned Yost decided to send Luke back out to the mound in the fifth and then things got even crazier. You would think a pitcher that gives up 8 runs in one inning would lose all control and get hit around for the rest of the time he’s in that game, but not Luke. He was able to come back after that terrible inning and throw 3 perfect innings.
That game is a perfect example of Luke Hochevar’s inconsistency. He comes out really strong in the first three innings, then has as bad an inning a pitcher can have and then comes back out for another three perfect innings. There was a game earlier in the year where he had a perfect game going through five innings and then came out in the sixth and gave up five runs. The guy has good stuff and has shown he can dominant hitters, but when he has a bad inning he becomes the most hitable pitcher out there.
He’s still a young player (27 years old) but he has been in the big league long enough that he shouldn’t be having those type of break downs. It seems like he still has some immaturity or some type of mental part of his game that he needs to figure out. Once he gives up a hit or two in one inning, it’s like he shuts down and can’t get focused again for that inning. Until he can learn how to deal with adversity and until he can develop his mental game further, he won’t be able to be more than a low end starter in the league.
The upside with Luke is that he can eat up innings. Out of his 11 starts he has given a quality start in over half of them (6 quality starts). He may not be consistent, but at least most the games he does start you won’t need to use up your whole bullpen. Once he learns how to cut down on those bad innings he has, he could become a very productive starter in the major leagues.
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