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Goodbye July

The Royals posted a 12-16 record in July, which counts as surprisingly non-horrible in my book. In fact, the Royals were 12-12 for the month headed into this weekend's series against the Rays... and we know how that turned out.

Looking at the primary members of the pitching staff, July looks like a strange month. For one, MacDougal, Affeldt and Sisco were good, bordering on dominant, giving the Royals a 1-2-3 punch at the back end of the bullpen that was one of the American League's best. Importantly, all three continued to post solid, if unspectacular, strikeout numbers that belie continued success. Even Jimmy Gobble had a decent month, eating innings and posting a decent 4.50 ERA, despite allowing a .302 BA in July. 4.50 is nothing to write home (or blog about, as it were), but after 2004 I wasn't sure Gobble was capable of ever sustaining a sub-5.00 ERA ever again. He did it in July.

MacDougal: 12 games, 6 saves, 2.13 ERA in 12 IP

Affeldt: 11 games, 0.90 ERA in 10 IP

Sisco: 12 games, 1.59 ERA in 11.1 IP

Gobble: 9 games, 4.50 ERA in 14 IP

With regards to the pitching staff, its clear that Greinke and Carrasco, effectively sabotaged the team's month, turning in awful performances just when LimaTime was heating up and Runelvys was cruising to a second-straight solid month.

Carrasco: 5 games, 2-2 record, 6.75 ERA in 26.2 IP

Greinke: 6 games, 2-4 record, 6.75 ERA in 32 IP

Lima: 6 games, 3-3 record, 3.79 ERA in 35.2 IP

Runelvys: 5 games, 3-1 record, 3.99 ERA in 29.1 IP

Of course, the staff also featured the J.P. Howell/Kyle Snyder combo getting torched in the 5-slot, which should temper one's enthusiasm a tad. As with all bad teams, the good performances never quite add up, or coincide at the right time. Take Carrasco's first two months, Greinke's first two seasons and the last month of LimaTime and Run', and you've got one of the League's best rotations, 1 through 4. Instead, as it stands now, the team's still below average, and probably will be throughout the rest of the season.

Offensively, the carnage continued, as the Royals scored only 122 runs in the month, good for 11th in the American League. Collectively, the team hit .268/.327/.411, revealing an offense that is short on power and big on outs.

Sorted by OBP, the numbers look like this:

Chip Ambres: .348/.464/.522 (27 plate appearances)

Alberto Castillo: .227/.393/.273 (28 plate appearances)

David DeJesus: .330/.386/.527

Mike Sweeney: .337/.381/.629 (Welcome back Mike.)

Donnie Murphy: .250/.364/.429 (33 plate appearances)

T-Long: .314/.351/.429

Angel Berroa: .287/.324/.406

Mark Teahen: .233/.320/.384 (Yikes.)

Emil Brown: .265/.302/.357 (Yikes, again.)

John Buck: .227/.301/.333

Matt Stairs: .241/.273/.386 (Yikes, again, again.)

Super Joe McEwing: .219/.219/.344 (All Hail Super Joe for a walk-free month!)

Ruben Gotay: .169/.211/.197

Shane Costa: .133/.188/.167

As you can see here, the Royals' offense in July was basically Mike Sweeney and a mix of assorted uselessness. Gotay, Costa, McEwing and Teahen all turned in months that raise serious doubts about the ability to play Major League baseball, and Buck and Brown weren't much better. Even Royals Review favorite Matt Stairs isn't blameless here, posting a line worthy of late-career Pete O'Brien or Scott Fletcher. On the other hand, Ambres, Castillo and Murphy all turned in fluky good performances, which helped to soften the blow delivered by the bottom of the lineup. At this point, I'm sufficiently beyond making a snarky comment regarding T-Long, especially considering his semi-adequacy in the face of, apparently, the alternatives. Just as quickly as Emil Brown flirted with an .800 OPS he's back to being a journeyman level player, and well, at least Angel Berroa hit .287 for a month.