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Royals Rumblings - News for October 14, 2014

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Gotta blame it on something. Blame it on the rain.

Ed Zurga

Royals Rumblings - News for October 14, 2014

Royals celebrations appear to be getting in the domes of Orioles players.

It's a shame that Dyson has turned into a WWE heel. The Royals should be easy to like, given their small-market status, prolonged absence from the playoffs and enthusiastic, long-suffering fan base. They're a good, young team with exciting players and an extremely bright future. But they may want to tone down the theatrics.

Trust me, there are players in the visiting clubhouse here who noticed Lorenzo Cain's hand gestures that seemed to be directed Saturday at Orioles starter Bud Norris, and how the Royals skip across the plate after home runs while their teammates rush out of the dugout and jump up and down like it's the Little League World Series.

I'm waiting for them to start pieing teammates during the games.

The Orioles notice it, but they also concede that the only way to prevent it is to get these guys out. Don't let them score. Keep the Royals in the dugout.

Don't like the celebrations? Then go out and beat them. Otherwise, the Orioles just have to take it.

Rany writes that the Royals are so close to the promised land.

And yet here the Royals are, with six wins in the postseason and just six wins away from a championship, just two wins away from playing in baseball’s marquis event. Mathematically speaking, the odds that a team that wins the first two games of a best-of-seven series will go on to win the series is 81.25%. The Royals’ odds are probably higher than that, because they won the first two games on the road, and only need to win two of three in Kansas City to keep the series from even going back to Baltimore. In LCS history, 11 teams have won the first two games on the road in a best-of-seven, and all 11 won the series. Of course, that perfect correlation does not hold up in the World Series – that was taken care of by the 1985 Royals. (And later by the 1986 Mets and 1996 Yankees.) The Royals are in a good place right now. But nothing is guaranteed.

Jonah Keri at Grantland looks at how the Royals have been able to score runs all of a sudden.

Other than the one-and-done A’s, who drew six walks in the wild-card game, the Royals lead all playoff teams in walk rate, drawing 24 free passes in six games. In their big extra-innings win over the Orioles in Game 1 of the ALCS, the Royals bagged seven bases on balls, partly due to the wet conditions and to O’s closer Zach Britton’s inability to find the plate even with the aid of 90,000 GPS devices, but also partly due to K.C.’s improved collective batting eye.

While more walks lead to a better on-base percentage, free passes aren’t the only benefit of a patient approach. Seeing more pitches means getting better pitches to hit, and here, too, the Royals are performing much better in the postseason than they did during the regular season. Pre-playoffs, K.C. ranked 27th in pitches seen per plate appearance, at 3.74. During the playoffs, the Royals have upped that mark to 3.90. While that might not seem like a huge jump, 3.90 would’ve ranked fourth in the majors during the regular season.

Kurt Mensching of the Detroit News concedes the Royals were better than the Tigers, and that the Tigers could learn some lessons from the Royals run.

A lot of results in these playoffs have made little sense. The No. 1 seeds failed to win any games at home and combined to win just one Divisional Series game.

But the Tigers being bounced from the playoffs while the Royals are just two wins from the World Series makes perfect sense.

Kansas City had the better team the entire time.

Eno Harris at Fangraphs writes about how Alex Gordon's demotion early in his career led to him turning everything around.

Being sent down was a wake up call, but it also gave Gordon a chance to work with Kevin Seitzer, then the Royal’s minor-league hitting coordinator. Part of their work was mechanical, as they worked to flatten Gordon’s swing. "I wanted more plate coverage, and to keep my bat in the zone longer," he said. As much as you can tell from two blurry GIFs of two swings spread six years apart (2008 on the left, 2014 on the right), it look as if Seitzer was successful:

MLB.com also profiles Alex Gordon and his intense workout regiment.

He did it with uncommon discipline and a pregame routine that borders on obsessive compulsive, where every second of every minute of every hour is accounted for, every single day of the arduous baseball season.

"Unbelievable," third baseman Mike Moustakas said. "I've never seen anybody do what he does on a daily basis."

Gordon works out with a stopwatch in his hand, so he can track every second spent in the weight room. Royals manager Ned Yost has often said Gordon uses the bathroom at the exact same time each day, and nobody thinks he's joking.

Bro, do you even work out at the YMCA?

So, what do the players call Ned Yost?

Oh that is glorious.

The Royals bandwagon is growing.

Every time we poll Kansas we find the Royals bandwagon just growing larger and larger. 69% of voters in the state now identify themselves as Royals fans, up 20 points from the beginning of the season when just 49% said they were Kansas City partisans. That grew to 58% by August and 62% in September before hitting its new 69% level.

New York Magazine profiles how the Royals went from perennial losers to contenders.

Royals pitching prospect Kyle Zimmer gave up three runs in less than four innings in his AFL debut, but scouts noted his fastball looked sharp.

John Perrotto at Baseball America profiles Brandon Finnegan and his meteoric rise from TCU to the ALCS.

Though it is unfair to compare to Finnegan to fellow lefty Aroldis Chapman, the Cincinnati Reds All-Star closer, there is one similarity. Finnegan, like Chapman, could prove to be so good in relief that the Royals hesitate to move him into a starting role.

Oh no, not this again?

Remember Fountain Lady? She's back, and will be appearing LIVE at Game Four of the ALCS. How she wasn't banned for life is anyone's guess.

A chef at the Westport Flea Market tells KCTV 5 reporter he would "love to see his meat in her mouth."

Jon Roegele at Hardball Times writes that the strike zone expansion is out of control.

The Power and Light Building downtown is shining Royal blue this week.

Comic books are still a very dude-oriented industry. That's why its "Comic Book Guy", not "Comic Book Gal."

Remember Netscape Navigator? Here's what people first said about the internet browser when it came out 20 years ago.

Who has America's ugliest accent? Like they say in Indianapolis, "fuhgeddabout it!"

Your song of the day is Milli Vanilli with "Blame it on the Rain."