Kansas City’s pitching staff has a team ERA of 4.96, which is second worst in the American League. That’s bad by any standards, but even more frustrating for a team that was picked by many to take the American League Central title in 2004. The axe fell on Royals pitching coach John Cumberland, who was fired before Wednesday’s game. Cumberland was hired as the Royals’ pitching coach in 2004. Mike Mason, who was serving as the Royals roving minor league pitching coach, has replaced Cumberland. This is Mason’s second stint with the organization—he was a minor league pitching coach for the Royals from 1991-1999. Mason spent the two previous seasons in the Phillies minor league system.