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Joakim Soria pulled from closer’s role after taking fifth blown save

May 30, 2011, 8:06 PM EDT

Joakim Soria AP

Joakim Soria just isn’t fooling anyone.

On Monday, he gave up a two-run homer to Torii Hunter with one out in the ninth inning, giving him three straight blown saves.  He went on to allow one more run before escaping the ninth in what turned out to be a 10-8 loss to the Angels.

Soria has blown five saves at all.  It’s been obvious all year that his stuff was off, yet he still had a 3.86 ERA before his recent streak.  It’s only now that he’s gotten pummeled: in his last four appearances, he’s given up eight runs and three homers, taking his ERA up to 6.55.

The homer today came on a 2-0 fastball that he grooved right down the middle.  He’s currently averaging 90.4 mph with his heater, down from 91.9 mph last year.  That alone isn’t the root of his problems, though.  Soria has lost his curveball, and the little slider he’s turned to as its replacement just isn’t a quality offering.

With the latest blown save, the Royals had no choice but to make a move in the closer’s role, and manager Ned Yost said after Monday’s game that Soria would be pulled for now and that rookie Aaron Crow would get save chances.  The hope is that it’s a temporary change, but given that Soria has gone two months without finding his previous form, it doesn’t look like there’s going to be a quick fix.

  1. royalsfaninfargo - May 30, 2011 at 8:11 PM

    Thank you for answering my prayers. Hopefully this is only temporary, but it is KC so you never know.

  2. uyf1950 - May 30, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    His performance so far this year has to have people asking the question will KC pick of his 2012 option or let him walk.

    • royalsfaninfargo - May 30, 2011 at 10:15 PM

      Good question. I would bet a lot of the answer depends on how he reacts and if he regains any of his old form.

  3. kiwicricket - May 30, 2011 at 11:54 PM

    …And there goes K.C’s last chance of trading a closer for oodles of top prospects.

  4. tomemos - May 31, 2011 at 12:55 AM

    But…but…how can that be? Chris Fiorentino told me he was one of the greats, one of the elite closers who you would want on your team over any merely good starter! Such a player wouldn’t just suddenly stop being amazing, would he?

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