Despite sporting a 7-13 record and a 5.36 ERA, Luke Hochevar got a vote of confidence from the Royals’ organization earlier this month. He’s responded in classic Hochevarian fashion; he gave up 22 runs over 24 innings in his last four starts.
Hochevar’s season officially ended during the Indians’ 10-run fifth inning on Sunday. Hochevar didn’t give up all of the runs, but he was charged with nine in 4 2/3 innings, taking his ERA up to 5.73. It’s not the worst ERA in the majors — Ricky Romero came in at 5.76 — but considering that Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium plays as a pitcher’s park, he rates as the AL’s least effective starter this year.
By Baseball-Reference’s ERA+. Hochevar’s season could end up rating the worst of any qualified starter since 2008. Tim Lincecum’s 2012 is actually worse right now (he’s at 68, the third worst mark since 2000), but the San Francisco park factor will likely be revised to something less extreme later on. Also, as rough as Lincecum’s season has been, he’s allowed just three unearned runs. Hochevar has allowed nine. Romero gave up six.
At least Hochevar can take solace that his season doesn’t rate as the worst in Royals’ history. The late Jose Lima went 5-16 with a 6.99 ERA in 32 starts for Kansas City in 2005.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports that the Nationals will ask to speak with Astros’ bench coach Alex Cora after the American League Championship Series concludes on Saturday. This comes on the heels of the news that club manager Dusty Baker will not be returning to the team in 2018.
Cora, 42, has some experience in the Nationals’ organization. He played for the Nats during his last big league stint in 2011, batting .224/.287/.276 through 91 games before announcing his retirement in the spring of 2012. Per Cafardo, he was also offered a player development gig with the club, but has not appeared in any kind of official role with them since his days as a major league infielder. While he’s been lauded for his leadership skills and strong clubhouse presence, he hasn’t acquired any managerial experience since his retirement, save for a handful of games with the Astros where he filled in for A.J. Hinch.
Despite the appeal of having a familiar face in the dugout, the Nationals aren’t the only ones eyeing Cora. The Astros’ coach has already interviewed with the Tigers, Mets and Red Sox this month. Boston appears to be the current favorite to land him and according to at least one source, may even announce his hiring in advance of the World Series next Tuesday.