Royals Handed Golden Opportunity... And Try To Hand It Right Back

August 28, 2012; Kansas City, MO, USA; Kansas City Royals left fielder Alex Gordon (4) connects for a double in the first inning of the game against the Detroit Tigers at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

Following Tuesday's start in Kansas City, Justin Verlander has made a total of 226 major league starts. He's allowed eight or more runs in four of those starts. (The most earned runs he's allowed in a start is eight. Accomplished three times. Including Tuesday.)

So Verlander has a stinker of a start like we saw around 2.2 percent of the time.

And the Royals still tried to throw it all away.

I've written this thousands of time since I started raking in the dough as a blogger: The Royals are never good, but always interesting.

-- The Royals have plated 52 runs in 12 games since we threw a collective conniption fit at Alex Gordon moving down in the batting order. (Fine... Maybe not collective. I was agitated, though.) That works out to 4.33 runs per game. Just prior to the lineup change, the Royals were averaging 4.16 runs per game.

So Ned Yost is some sort of revolutionary genius, right?

Behold, the glory of the small sample size.

Prior to Tuesday's outburst against Verlander, the Royals were averaging 3.91 runs per game since Gordon was replaced as the leadoff hitter. One game kind of makes a difference, Spin Doctor.

-- It's fun to look at a box score and see six of nine hitters with multiple hits. And when five of those six reside in the heart of the order, putting up eight runs a game looks easy. Especially when A1 and Salvador Perez are hitting doubles. And Mike Moustakas with the game winner. There's an intrinsic beauty in an offense that is firing (mostly) on all cylinders.

-- That brings us to Jeff Francoeur. Enough. Entering Tuesday, he was hitting .175/.295/.216 over his last 15 games. (Yeah, that's an arbitrary point, or maybe not... I chose that date because it was the end of his most recent mini lukewarm streak.)

The great thing about Francoeur during this stretch is an inflated on base percentage. Thank Robin Ventura. The Frenchman has been intentionally walked four times... (Four times!) in the last week and a half. Somehow he's added six unintentional walks in this span.

Breathtaking.

-- Greg Holland channelled the plus-size ghost of Jonathan Broxton. The replay of the Delmon Young home run foul ball was insane. The two angles featured on FSKC made it look foul from one angle and fair from another. Just enough to breathe foul.

Yet as Holland dodges the bullet (nice whiff of Cabrera, by the way) it just served to remind me of how well he's pitched in the ninth inning role, which reminds me of how foolish it is for a team like the Royals to place so much value in a Proven Closer. Broxton was never going to be a long-term solution, so he was clearly expendable. Yet in the case of Joakim Soria, the Royals held that card for too long. WIth a bullpen stocked like the Royals (and with Dayton's ability to find solid relief pitching) it never makes sense to hang onto a closer when there's value on the trade market. Hopefully, it was a lesson learned.

-- With the Indians and Twins losing on Tuesday, the Royals strengthened their grip on third place in the Central. Just another night in The Royal Universe.

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