Royals starters going deep offers relief to 'pen

Royals starters going deep offers relief to 'pen

CLEVELAND -- James Shields was working on adding to it on Monday night against the Indians, but when right-hander Wade Davis went six innings on Sunday against Tampa Bay, the Royals' pitching staff reached something of a milestone.

Davis' performance marked the 50th time in 67 games that a Royals starting pitcher had gone six or more innings. Last year, the Royals' starters didn't reach that mark until the 115th game of the season, on Aug. 14.

In addition, Jeremy Guthrie's seven innings on Saturday against the Rays was the 27th time a starter has gone seven or more innings, something that wasn't achieved last year until game 130 on Aug. 30.

"We don't think about, we're just trying to put zeros on the board. Just trying to give our team a chance to win the game," said Ervin Santana, who has gone six or more innings in each of his 13 starts. "If it's happening, we're happy about it."

The end result is that the Royals' bullpen isn't being overworked as it was in 2012.

"We've got a very good pitching staff out in the bullpen, too. So if one day the starter doesn't have it, the bullpen just carries it for us and keeps the team in the game, too," Santana said.

Dick Kaegel is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.