Just thought doing something productive after the crystallization of the annual May Royals slide would be a good idea. Or failing that, something where I could just vent a bit on the current situation.
Don't act as if this is new territory. Don't act as if 21-23 after 44 is some sort of accomplishment. Don't act as if 21-23 after 44 is some sort of great thing.
KC started 21-23 in 2008, with loss 23 being a Jon Lester no-hitter. They lost 11 more games in a row. Dropping to 21-34.
KC started 22-22 in 2009, then they lost 9 of 11 to drop to 24-31.
KC started 22-22 in 2011. Then they lost 5 in a row and were 26-36 on June 8th of 2011.
21-23 after 44 is nothing to hold a plaza parade over. They set the expectations. They set the expectations of far more than a team on pace to win 77 games. They did it to get Dayton Moore a contract extension in order to keep the gravy train flowing. They sold their best assets in the farm system for a starter none of the hitters want to win, another starter who should be a reliever and a utility infielder.
All this pitching, all this pitching, was supposed to make this team contend.
Ervin Santana had a 2.00 ERA after April and 99 career wins. Ervin Santana has a 3.14 ERA after May 23rd and 99 career wins. Ervin Santana was very happy with his performance where his ERA went up by 37 decimal points. So at least he's happy for the remainder of the 2 months he'll be a Royal.
James Shields has a better ERA in losses than wins. The better he pitches, the worse this offense performs. This team doesn't deserve a James Shields. This team put up more wins for the first 10 starts of Luke Hochevar's 2012 season than for the first 10 starts of James Shields' 2013 season. It's true, look it up. 29 other teams would love a James Shields. 29 other teams would have given James Shields more wins than this Royals team.
Jeremy Guthrie is a mere mortal. Jeremy Guthrie is a nice guy from all indications. Jeremy Guthrie would have been an ace on a lot of Royals teams that didn't have a functional Gil Meche or the beginning of Zack Greinke's career peak. Jeremy Guthrie has seen his ERA go up by over a run in the last month.
If you put Wade Davis in a corn maze, the guy would never get out. Amazingly irritating pitcher to watch. So slow during any sort of stress. He's a relief pitcher. He's being forced to start because he's the Mike Wood of this deal. A general manager who acquired Vin Mazzaro, Sean O'Sullivan, Will Smith, and an army of mediocrities. Wade Davis is just so incredibly irritating to watch. He wasn't put in the Tampa Bay bullpen because they had a great rotation. He was put in the Tampa Bay bullpen because he was their Luke Hochevar.
Luis Mendoza used to be infuriating to watch. Back in 2010, the guy just showed up and spewed runs all over the scoreboard. He turned himself into something useful for a little bit. His 2012 was serviceable. He's better than Wade Davis. But that's like being a better drummer than Meg White.
The idea of pitching winning championships is such a load of nonsense. Good pitching is nice. Teams with good pitching typically fare well. But this team has had great pitching for the first two months and they have a losing record. They could have had a losing record with a lot less effort to build a starting rotation.
The problem is the hitting, but guess what?
The hitting wasn't all that worse to start off the magical first 27 outside of the Philadelphia series.
They put up 4 runs a game in those 24 games, and won 15 of 24 in those games. They've put up around 3.9 runs a game in their 17 games, and lost 13 of 17.
One of those two things is a bigger fluke. I'd imagine the 5/8ths winning percentage while scoring 4 runs a game is far flukier than the 4-13.
I never had this team marked as anything over 76 wins. Never. Not once. Not even at 16-10. Because every single Dayton Moore team always fades early in 2007, and 2008, and 2009, and 2010, and 2011, and 2012. Every single time. Dayton Moore has never built a team that has a winning record after game 43. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER. NEVER. But don't worry ownership likes him because they don't know anything about Baseball and they keep falling for Dayton Moore's baloney. I'm not advocating the ownership directly run the team. They just need to fire Dayton Moore before they realize they got taken by the Music Man.
Every single Dayton Moore team fades. It's like they hired the guy who built Galloping Gertie to keep building bridges. That kept getting decimated by the wind. It's like they don't even pay attention to the fact that Dayton Moore is not a credible judge of major league talent.
Is anybody doing more to shorten the length of their job tenure than Ned Yost? Anybody? Let's face it, this team won't contend with a new manager. But Ned Yost is just repeatedly shooting himself in the foot in the last week.
The worst thing possible is to go on a season-ending downward slide with a defining moment to start the streak.
4-13 since James Shields got pulled after 8.
4-9 since they moved Alex Gordon to the 3 spot and started batting guys who hit like pitchers in the 1 and 2 spots. And on Thursday, they batted the 4 worst hitters on the team directly in front of Alex Gordon. THEY MOVED GORDON TO GET HIM MORE RBI OPPORTUNITIES AND DROPPED THESE GUYS IN FRONT OF HIM. It's amazing.
Just bat Gordon leadoff to get him as many at-bats as possible since he's the only guy on the team who consistently has good at-bats.
Chris Getz is a joke. Chris Getz wasn't even playing a few days ago and now he's hitting leadoff. Chris Getz is not going to be an RBI opportunity for Alex Gordon. You know you have to be really damned bad at Baseball to make people pine for Elliot Johnson to regularly play. Chris Getz is one of the few 2nd basemen acquired by Dayton Moore and for some reason, he has had four seasons in Kansas City. He somehow has an option year. Chris Getz doesn't field extraordinarily. Chris Getz doesn't satisfactory. I'm sure he's a nice guy and smart and everything, but he's just not good at baseball. It's like the sports cliche mentioned about Getz finding his game. When he finds his game, he'll find his game is something not called baseball. He might be a good tennis player or something.
Alcides Escobar is good with a glove and totally out of his element hitting at the top of the order. If this team actually acquired or developed players worth a damn to be at the top of the lineup, Alcides Escobar is hitting 7th or 8th. They had Alex Gordon hitting leadoff and Melky hitting 2nd two years ago. They turned Melky into Sanchez and turned Sanchez into Guthrie. Whoo. Just a trade or two away from finding some offense in those hills.
Alex Gordon is the James Shields of the Offense. Alex Gordon was the only guy hitting in the last 3 weeks, but he's not scoring or knocking in runs because they are suck in the 1970s and they think that Gordon has to hit 3rd because that's what they did when people thought tight pants was a good idea. Just bat Gordon leadoff because it'll get him the most at-bats.
Billy Butler. I'm finding it amazing that i'm losing patience with Billy Butler. He just hits too many groundballs and you know there is no chance he's getting on base when he grounds the ball to the Shortstop for the 9th time in the game. The Shortstop could have a heart attack, be legally dead, and get the ball out of his hand during a rare moment of clarity, and Butler would still be out by 5 steps. Billy Butler isn't even such an automatic out because of his size. I don't spend time looking at his stomach (I figure that's best left to his texting/photo buddies). Billy Butler isn't slow because of his size being any larger or smaller than usual. He's slow because he has two feet that don't move very fast. Billy Butler had a breakthrough year in 2012. He hit more line drives. Even more fly balls, and fewer groundballs. Then in 2013, he's back to his usual self. Billy Butler has the most career games and PAs of any player his age at DH. Butler leads those categories for "career to 27 years old" easily. He leads those categories for "career to 28 years old" as well despite being 27 years old. You're witnessing history when you see Billy Butler, because most every other regular 27 year old was put at a position, even in cases of delusion, instead of being an every day DH from the age of 25 until now. Butler will start mixing in a few more line drives some day soon. It's just irritating to watch because it kills confidence that he's going to actually do something in a big situation. They're walking Alex Gordon to pitch to Billy Butler. What is wrong with the universe.
Eric Hosmer. All he really does is hit singles. If he ever gets to be somewhat good, and he might some day! It'll require accepting that his offensive skillset is like a Travis Lee. He won't hit a lot of home runs. He'll get some doubles. He'll steal bases because nobody ever told him to stop that and his percentages aren't terrible when it comes to stealing bases. He has hit some more singles lately. But he doesn't hit for enough power to really do much anyways. The one thing I've always heard from people is that Hosmer and Moustakas like the KC nightlife a bit. Which is a surprise since one could say the nightlife is not great in KC (if Hosmer likes the night life, put him in New York and see how long he lasts). Maybe the people who think Hosmer parties too much also make note of when they think Butler's pants size has increased.
Lorenzo Cain. It's like they don't know what the hell do to with him on offense. They don't like him at the top of the order after occasionally trying him there. They didn't start Cain at leadoff twice in a row. They started Cain a few times at 2 when they were pretending Escobar was a leadoff hitter. They've moved Cain back to 6. Because they think there's 5 hitters who they want to get more plate appearances than Lorenzo Cain.
Salvador Perez has moved forward on offense. Naturally he's hitting in the bottom half of the order. Because God forbid we get one of the better bats in the lineup out of the bottom half of the order. He's more solid on defense than a lot of recent catchers, which means he gets overrated by the team media people. He'll probably be a bit worse than the 1990s era Pudge Rodriguez on offense. But right now he's kinda wasted in his spot/
Oooooooooh Mike Moustakas. Nobody has ever started as deeply bad as Mike Moustakas as a young 3rd baseman and actually done something with their career. Moustakas was bad in 2011. He was dragged to bad in 2012. He's bad in 2013. He's on a 2 for 43. He went on a 2 for 49 in 2011. He doesn't study video tape. He openly contrasts that to Butler and Gordon studying tape and doesn't realize what's wrong. Mike Moustakas is the guy who doesn't study and doesn't take notes who winds up trying to make his way though a college. Mike Moustakas is not the same as Alex Gordon in 2007/2008. Mike Moustakas is a lot worse. Mike Moustakas probably shouldn't be playing in Kansas City, but they made sure to prevent any legitimate competition from being in the upper reaches of the KC farm system. They'll act like a tag team of Tejada and Falu wouldn't be preferable as Moustakas goes away to figure things out. They say Moustakas hasn't lost his confidence. But they were openly hiding that Moustakas needed "mental days off" in 2012 as they happened. They batted Miguel Tejada for Mike Moustakas in the 7th. I don't know when, if ever, Ned pinch hit for someone in the 7th in a competitive game. Dayton, it is not a sign of weakness to demote one of the prize ponies.
Jeff Francoeur. Well, he got pinch hit for on Thursday night for the first time since July 2009. Yes, it had been nearly 4 years since a manager pinch hit for Jeff Francoeur. Most of the time NL managers would double-switch Francoeur away. Ron Washington would just play Francoeur v. LHP. But Francoeur is pretty much getting to play every day until the end of the Dyson injury due to the David Lough error.
It's a giant blaring double standard that David Lough makes one error in Oakland. But Jeff Francoeur makes multiple errors, some on the same night, and it doesn't seem like anything ever happens to Francoeur. In fact Francoeur is batting against RH pitchers. It's like the charge of the lightheaded brigade. It's amazing. It makes no sense whatsoever.
George Kottaras is pretty fine, plus he's exposing which people are adherants to the outdated stat called batting average. George Kottaras pinch hit for Jeff Francoeur. That's kinda amazing to think about. Ned may not be Bobby Cox, but he's not completely oblivious to Francoeur.
The batting order is a giant freaking mess. Ned started messing with the tiles in his shower, and destabilzed other tiles trying to correct one. Here's an idea from 3am.
Moustakas 3B (if he must be here)
Hell, it winds up batting Gordon behind the four black holes like the other lineup, but Gordon gets to hit a bit more. Hosmer could get some more at-bats if he ever wants to work things out and become useful. Gordon wouldn't be a total dead duck if Hosmer just grounds everything to the infielders. You could flip Cain and Perez for all I care. And yes, they'll use lefty relievers on Gordon and Hosmer. But then again, if you're gonna bat two lefties back to back, might as well have the better one go first.
Or in a world where Moustakas is in Omaha (which makes the lineup a bit too right-handed, but we could create two more lineups of David Lough/Dyson.. heck might as well get creative with the idea of Dyson not leading off but being in a position where he could move across the bases for other hitters):
Or just pick a batting order out of an empty Starbucks cup or something. It'd make as much sense as Getz hitting leadoff.
Our offense just seems very one-dimensional. They hit a lot of ground balls (aside from the 2nd baseman and Moustakas). Sometimes they hit groundballs that go into the outfield, or the infielders blow the play. Most of the time they make outs. The Ned Yost home run projections was one of the dumber things he said in the last few months, but how many HRs can you expect from a bunch of guys who will hit lots of groundball outs.
They have enough problems avoiding double plays when the batter and runner aren't fast enough to pull off a hit and run. Most of them don't appear to have any sort of obvious two strike approach aside from swing-away.
To be quite honest, I think they're trying to do some sort of plate patience but they're not buying into that sort of communism. Which is ridiculous because they're just shooting themselves in the foot with stupid stupid approaches that cause guys like Joe Blanton to throw 7 pitch innings. Joe Blanton throws 9 pitches while tying his shoes. They got Jason Vargas on Friday, Jerome Williams on Saturday who i've probably seen but don't remember, and CJ Wilson's hair on Sunday. God Help Them. Because their bats certainly won't be the X-Factor in getting them some wins over an Angels team that'd be lucky to top .500.
Is this all a product of getting rid of the so-called hitting guru Kevin Seitzer? No. Stop being a reactionary. Stop acting like a Royals offense that was only special in 2011 when you got a Melky enhanced year, a Francoeur contract year and the rise of Gordon was the typical Seitzer product. Kevin Seitzer is a pretty good hitting instructor if the person involved in 12 years old. But he wasn't all that special as a major league hitting coach. I don't know enough about the results of Jack Maloof or Andre David to have strong feelings that they have to go. It's like blaming the economy a few months into a Presidential team entirely on the current President.
Losing has a way of really bringing out a lot of the stupid things said. There's less of a halo if you're losing and stupid than if you're winning and stupid. People in the vicious KC sports media are beginning to stop dancing around their points in regards to Ned Yost. Should Ned Yost be fired? yes. If you fire Dayton Moore at the same time. Why would you let a guy who hired Trey Hillman and Ned Yost make another managerial hire. Do you think he's got an idea of what a good manager is right now. There's reason to doubt either will happen quite yet. They'll close that barn door after all the cattle are gone.
Is this team, as it stands now, built to win? No. Joe Sheehan may say 83-79. Lots of other experts may say close to .500. But it's 76-86 all day long. They are all victims of the gambler's fallacy. But this is a one-dimensional offense whose veteran bats are not exactly prestigious. I've been more definitive on the idea of teams havng somebody on the roster with experience in winning situations being better bets to succeed. I'll stick by that. This team is not making a June or July run. They're not that good. This isn't Hawk Harrelson will to win nonsense. They're just not good when everything is factored into the equation. Good teams tend to finish ahead of not-good teams. Aside from some glitches in the Matrix. This team can't just bounce back to having 4 runs a game and winning 62% of their games. They can't just bounce back to the schedule leading up to 17-10 where they beat the Ray's terrible bullpen and then beat up on the hitless White Sox. The 17-10 Royals are not the real 2013 Royals.
You can act like 21-23 is not a failure. That's fair. You can't act like it's a success. Not when they started 17-10.
If this team proves me wrong, and precedent says they won't. Then good. I'd rather be wrong and happy than right and unhappy. Prove me wrong Eric Hosmer, be somewhat useful with a bat. Prove me wrong Mike Moustakas, actually get a hit more than 2 times per 40 at-bats. Prove me wrong Royals team that has repeatedly failed to approach .500 in the actual summer.
C'mon. If you're so different, prove it. Until then, you're the same as 2008, 2009 and 2011.