Royals News And Rumors: Kennedy's Umpire Beef, Scary Stats On Soria

The Kansas City Royals (10-5) will look to keep the momentum going at home against the Baltimore Orioles after taking two of three from the Detroit Tigers. While the team has been going good overall since the beginning of the season, there are some lingering issues that have made headlines for the defending World Series champs in recent days. 

Read on for the latest news and rumors surrounding a pair of key pitchers for the Royals: starter Ian Kennedy and reliever Joakim Soria.

Kennedy's umpire beef
Ian Kennedy has been questioned by the umpiring crew in two-straight starts in regards to how he sets his hand before the windup. The 31-year-old vet is adamant that is not doing anything different this season. 

"I'd been in this position with my hands my whole career and no umpire ever had questioned me," Kennedy said after taking a hard-luck loss to Detroit (6.1 IP, 2 ER, 7 SO). 

The Royals are reportedly talking to MLB about the issue, but an official verdict has not yet been handed down

Scary stats on Soria
Beat writer Rustin Dodd pointed out an interesting Joakim Soria stat that Royals Reviews' Shaun Newkirk followed up on: his opposing hitters' exit velocity (82.7 MPH). While Newkirk went on to largley discount the stat's singular value, his research on the distribution of batted ball velocity showed that Soria (7.71 ERA, 4.49 FIP) has been flat out bad. 

Soria's batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is an absurdly high .429 -- his career average is .273 -- but luck hasn't been the only thing behind that number. The former Royals closer has displayed less ability to locate his pitches this year, and his increased walk rate has not helped his cause. If Soria doesn't improve in these two areas, he will likely slide down K.C.'s late-inning depth chart. 

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Related Topics: MLB News, Joakim Soria, Royals Rumors, Royals News, Ian Kennedy