Royals Rumblings - News for October 13, 2014
These Orioles are not unlike the Orioles of old. There are differences, of course, but they catch the ball and they prevent runs (more with their bullpen, but still) and they hit the long ball.
These Royals are not unlike the Royals of old. There are differences, of course. But they catch the ball, they prevent runs and they run whenever they can.
I was always told that every style eventually comes back around. This feels like a series right out of childhood. I never believed that basketball short shorts would come back, or those ridiculous pants golfers used to wear, or disco. But if you live long enough, I guess, you will see Royals and the Orioles will play in the ALCS. What can you say? Put on some Bee Gees, pretend to be Fonzie and may the force be with you, always.
Sam Mellinger writes that the Royals have been raking in the dough this post-season, and they need to spend it.
The formula is complicated, and the payouts are different for a game one than they’d be for potential game sevens (teams get a bigger chunk in the later-round games), but clubs can sometimes bank $12 million to $15 million for a playoff run that includes the maximum number of games in each series.
The money will not change the Royals’ stature as one of baseball’s small-revenue organizations, but it could push them toward the middle third.
I hope my $25 parking fee doesn't get spent on Omar Infante!
Mellinger also writes what a strange trip this has been for Royals fans.
The sport’s best story keeps getting better, one late-inning win at a time, in a way that somehow makes it feel both more and less real with every wild night. They are supposed to be nervous here, on this stage, the little upstart not used to playing with the baseball world’s full attention but instead they’re treating it like a bachelor party.
The anxiety of the moment is there, of course. Has to be. But the Royals are burying it by having the time of their lives. Before games, the clubhouse becomes something like a night club, except with Red Bull instead of whiskey. Jarrod Dyson is in charge of the music, which usually gets cranked to 12, and darned if the coaches don’t sometimes wonder if the team is ready to play but who can argue with these results?
Vahe Gregorian writes that no one embodies this post-season run for the Royals more than Lorenzo Cain.
"There’s the son growing up in front of your eyes," first base and outfield coach Rusty Kuntz said. "It just clicked for him about six weeks ago, and once we got into postseason he became an animal.
"He gets it now, the intensity and taking care of his body and getting in here early and doing his treatments and getting his workouts in. Just everything is coming together for him.
"And now he’s a new dad, so he’s got more of a purpose now. That’s what kids to do you, they just drive you to become a better man.
Mike Moustakas reflects on his journey from Omaha earlier this year to ALCS hero.
"Everything I went through this year led me to this point," Moustakas said. "And I couldn’t ask for a better way to go about it."
Paul Swydan at Fangraphs has begun the FREE JARROD DYSON movement, noting the speedster should probably start.
Over the past two seasons, there have only been 29 outfielders in baseball more valuable than Dyson. Of those 29, only one of them had as few plate appearances as did Dyson. Most of them have double the plate appearances, and some have 2.5 times Dyson’s 529 PAs. Dyson is particularly adept afield. Over the past two seasons, only three outfielders have been worth more defensively per our Def statistic, and only 15 position players in general.
David Lauria at Fangraphs has some notes on Game Two of the ALCS, and writes that Ned Yost has evolved to become less rigid in his ways.
"I always tried to push them to be more like me instead of letting them be themselves," said Yost. "I learned last year that if you let a young group that has energy, and they’re excited to play the game, and you let them be themselves, you’ll probably be in a better position."
Dave Fleming at Bill James Online looks at the Royals philosophy of having high-contact guys and wonders if it is a recipe for success.
Of the thirteen playoff series our high-contact teams have played, they’ve managed to win an impressive nine of those. They have a cumulative W-L record of 35-24 in playoff baseball, an impressing .59 winning percentage. This might be something….there is at least a suggestion that teams with low strikeout rates tends to do pretty good in the postseason. From that, we can speculate why this might be true. It’s possible that most playoff teams have good pitchers, pitchers with higher-than-average strikeout rates. Maybe high-contact teams frustrate good pitchers more than high-walk teams.
Maybe it’s a weather thing….October games are cold, and cold weather dampens offense. That means less homers and more fly-outs from the big boppers. Maybe singles-punching teams like the Royals do well because an offense that plays for one run does better in cold weather.
Tyler Kepner of the New York Times looks at how the Zack Greinke trade ended up being a big winner for the Royals.
In Doug Melvin, the general manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, he found common ground. Melvin asked for a private meeting with Moore at the winter meetings in Orlando, Fla., and to show he was serious, he immediately offered center fielder Lorenzo Cain and shortstop Alcides Escobar...
Moore and Melvin liked dealing with each other. Each had a scouting background and tended to trust traditional scouting methods more than advanced analytics.
"I have nothing against numbers, but everybody has the same numbers," Melvin said. "When you’re talking about scouting and player development, that’s risk-taking. If Escobar’s hitting .170, that’s probably not a good deal for them. Same with Cain. But they did a nice job in the last years of their development."
This entire post-season run of course, is due to me wearing my lucky shirt every game. But other fans feel their superstitions are contributing as well.
Speaking of superstition, Royals fan Rolf Potts writes at the Atlantic about how he won the Wild Card game by flying the South Korean flag.
I doubt the players noted the anomaly of a skittish bearded man clutching a South Korean flag for those few moments on the Jumbotron. When the Royals tied the game in the bottom of the ninth, it wasn't a matter of luck; it was the result of Josh Willingham's bloop single, Jarrod Dyson's bold base running, and a solidly hit Nori Aoki fly ball. It was rookie reliever Brandon Finnegan—not luck—that kept the game tied through the 10th and 11th innings, and it was the clutch hitting of Eric Hosmer, Christian Colon, and Salvador Perez that enabled the Royals to overcome a one-run deficit and clinch the game in the bottom of the 12th.
Still, holding that flag in the middle of the ninth inning made me feel that all those feats might be possible—and that other fans might notice the gesture and embrace the possibility too. Later, after a giddy three-hour drive home, I noticed that a handful of in-the-know Twitter fans had seen the flag and sent hope-filled salutes to SungWoo. When Rany Jazayerli's account of the game appeared on Grantland hours later, he noted the flag's appearance on the Jumbotron and intuited exactly what I'd hoped it would mean to folks like him: "We got this."
My favorite joke.
Nate Silver of Fivethirtyeight calls the Royals-Orioles ALCS the most "underdog-y" ever.
If you're not following Pedro Martinez on Twitter, he is totally in love with the Royals. Here he is dancing during the light delay in Game One of the ALCS.
Kevin Durant is out 6-8 weeks. This is why we can't have nice things.
Are you interested in seeing Matthew McConaughey travel through a wormhole in Christopher Nolan's "Interstellar"?
Has there been a coup in North Korea and we just don't know it?
Your song of the day is DJ Khaled with "All I Do is Win."