Soria Steps Down as Royals' Closer
Aaron Crow has replaced struggling Joakim Soria as the Kansas City Royals' closer. Heading into Monday's game, opposing batters were hitting .288/.374/.463 against Soria. He blew yet another save today (his second in two days) yielding 3 runs on 4 hits in the ninth inning versus the Los Angeles Angels. The two-run HR he gave up to Torii Hunter was the 4th he's allowed this season which matches his 2010 total.
Right handed batters are a major source of Soria's troubles. Through May 29th, they were hitting .302/.388/.581 against him for a .412 wOBA. In 2009 and 2010 combined, righties put up a measly .269 wOBA. His location this season is likely a major reason why he's struggled against them.
Soria was pretty consistent at keeping the ball away from RHB over the last two years, getting beat mostly when throwing over the middle of the plate. This season, he seems to be living in the middle, and is paying the price for it. Specifically, Soria has been leaving his cutter middle-in to RHB. From 2009-2010, righties mustered a .274 wOBA against his cutter. This season, he's thrown 100 cutters to righties and his wOBA against on the pitch has risen 200 points to .474.
Getting his control over the cutter would go a long way towards helping Joakim Soria regain the closer's role in Kansas City.