All I really have to say is that if the Royals really end up losing this game without actually earning a loss, I'll be really disappointed. With how good the team's become recently at losing baseball games, it would be a shame to lose one because of rain. Though, really, would it surprise anyone? On to the Position Players Ups and Downs for the week.
Note: this post was written during the rain delay. We apologize for any time-traveling that occurs during the reading of this article. Those responsible have been sacked. More times than Matt Cassel. The Chiefs stink.
Alex Gordon - LF -
Death, taxes, and Alex Gordon fruitlessly trying to try in invisible baserunners by hitting well for yet another stretch of this wonderful season. Gordon started tonight's rainy tilt with the St. Louis Tweetybirds hitting .340/.379/.502. That's a little light on the secondary skills, for sure, but it's still pretty freaking good. UZR has started to like his fielding again too, as Fangraphs has him at 3.4 runs above average after a slow (by his standards) beginning to the season.
Alcides Escobar - SS -
Hovering around .270 now in the OBP department, and still hitting in the second slot. Whatever you think about the body of evidence that suggests the second slot is a good place for your best hitter, you'd have to concede that Escobar isn't hitting well. I'm not onboard with firing Yost (unless it's a happy side effect of Moore getting the boot), but there's only a couple other things that annoy me moore about his managing style than his insistence on Al batting second.
Billy Butler - DH -
I keep thinking to myself that Butler is going to turn the corner in terms of his batting average a few more extra base hits, but that's yet to happen. A testament to how nicely Butler's plate discipline has held up this season during these relative struggles is that his OBP is still a studly .370. Yeah, that's right, a hundred points higher than out bat-control guy in the two-hole. Also, as awesome as Alex Gordon is, Butler's doubled his walk total this year in fewer PAs. The rest will come around soon, methinks, though it's worth noting that his LD% is a couple ticks down from last year.
David Lough - RF -
I'll be honest. I really don't give a flying Frank Yost wig that Lough's a marginal "prospect" who would have to beat the odds to become an average regular, I'd have given him a green arrow for simply being a carbon-based right fielder not named Jeff Francoeur. Seriously, for all the other batshit crazy things this organization is capable of, "Francoeur's playing for his defense" might be the one that, on a visceral, reactionary level, terrifies me the most.
I'm also pleased to inform you that Lough actually earned the green arrow, though, with his gritty slides and with the fact that he came up from the Royals vaunted minor league system and actually hit .340 instead of immediately forgetting how to swing a bit, or being kidnapped by monkeys posing as film critics. Bravo, David!
Eric Hosmer - 1B -
I could write a lot more here, but the long and short of it is that Hosmer's production would be merely acceptable from a plus glove shortstop, and he's a mediocre-glove first baseman. If George Bleeping Brett can teach Hosmer to pull the ball over the fence twenty times a year, I really won't care if anyone poops themselves in the process.
Lorenzo Cain - CF -
There isn't anything "wrong" with Cain that wasn't already there, and Cain at his current level is still a good baseball player. Having finally seen his robust hitting line decline with the disappearances of his batted ball luck, Cain's looking awfully like the guy he was last year. His walk rate's a bit higher, his defense is grading out better, and the power's a bit down. This dude's someone that gets a red arrow with the caveat that I wouldn't tell anybody to worry about his production going forward (unless they expected him to hit .350 all year).
Mike Moustakas - 3B -
When last we met, I wrote that he wasn't out of the wood yet. Well, it turns out he circled back deeper into the woods, took a dryad for a wife, and built himself a cottage in the middle of the densest thicket in the whispering wood. I don't have any solutions, and neither do the Royals, unless George Brett and Miguel Tejada's robocop-like resurgence count as a solutions.
Chris Getz - 2B -
Oddly enough, batting someone leadoff who cannot hit is actually worse than batting Alex Gordon there. I'm sorry to Getzy, but most other organizations would've DFA'd a player who's been bad enough to lose his job to Elliot Johnson. He walked tonight there, so by strawman-toting, anti-stat, mouth-breathing crazies' definition of sabermetrics, I should be happy with him.
Elliot Johnson - 2B -
He is not Chris Getz. This is his one "free" green arrow. You and your 22:2 K:BB are on notice, now, Elliot. Improve, or get off my plane.
Jeff Francoeur - RF -
Continues to defy my expectations by somehow getting worse. Coming into tonight's game, Frenchy had somehow amassed half his negative value from last season in less than a quarter of the PAs. He's basically a giant ball of suck that buys pizzas for people sometimes.
He also homered to tie the game tonight, so ahahahahahahaha Cardinals. Well done, there.
Miguel Tejada - "IF" -
I mean, it's Miguel Tejada. In the limited playing time he's been given, he's managed to not embarrass himself. His fielding continues to kind of stink, but his bat has had enough life for him to be (barely) a net positive. Your move, creep.
George Kottaras - C -
Not a good couple weeks for the Kottarizer, our resident Canadian catcher. He's still getting on base better than half the line-up, despite hitting his hat size.
Salvador Perez - C -
Recovered some of last year's mojo, in that he's been spraying more single and mixing in a few two-baggers. I remain dubious on the ridiculously overplayed descriptions of his defense, but most metrics like him well enough as a slightly above average fielder behind the plate (though some of that value gained is, in turn, mitigated, by his crappy baserunning this season). I'm always going to be wary of a hitter whose value is tied up in batting average when his strikeout rate is rising and his BABIP is well above the norm, but Perez is still contributing fairly well. Hopefully, he'll be ready to play again soon.
Note: Jarrod Dyson did not appear due to injury
Note: the Cardinals are afraid to come back on the field
Note: not many of the most (vaguely positive adjective) fans in baseball left at this game (link discretion advised).
It's too late, so I'm going to wrap this up quickly with one question. If you're the Royals owner, suddenly, whether through body-snatching, a tragically allocated lottery reward, or demonic possession of Bud Selig, who would you hire to be the Royals next GM?
Til next week, Go Royals!
Note: Game still hasn't resumed. This is sad.
Note: if this gets published way after the conclusion of the game, consider this your time capsule to that wonderful Royals-Cardinals game at 4 AM Friday on the East Coast. I wish I had a DeLorean DMC-12.
Update: We win! Greg Holland and Joe West deliver the miracle!