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Royals Rumblings - News for July 28, 2014

Every time Billy Butler homers, an angel gets its wings.

John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for July 28, 2014

Sam Mellinger says the Royals have a chance.

At the moment, the Blue Jays hold the second wild card spot and are on pace for 86 wins. The Royals are one of four teams within 2 ½ games of the Blue Jays, so figure it will take at least 87 by the end of the year. To get there, the Royals will need to finish 34-24. That’s a stretch, but not undoable. The Royals went 35-25 from April 15 to June 18, for instance. They’ve gone 27-21 since June 2 and finished 33-25 last year. Making the playoffs will require the best 58-game stretch of this season, but you can see where it’s possible with the right breaks.

There is a way, in other words. A legitimate, no-miracles-needed way for the Royals to turn these last two months into a worthy finish for eight years of patience.

So they have that going for them. Which is nice.

Jim Bowden of ESPN writes about the trade objectives of each of the American League Central clubs:

What to expect: The Royals' front office has been working hard to get a middle-of-the-lineup impact bat and at the very least an offensive upgrade in right field. I expect GM Dayton Moore to acquire a right fielder by the deadline, with Rios being his most likely target.

Trade I'd like to see happen: Christian Binford to the Rangers in exchange for Rios, who has a respectable .299/.327/.430 line with 21 doubles, an AL-leading eight triples, 41 runs scored and 42 RBIs. The Royals also would hold a club option for Rios at $13.5 million (or a $1 million buyout). He would be a clear upgrade and expand their lineup.

Bruce Chen says that sometimes his strategy is to just throw a pitch right down the middle.

We were discussing tendencies and patterns when I asked, "Have you ever faced a hitter whose weak spot is down the middle?"

"Yes," responded Chen. "There are maybe a couple, but it’s one guy in particular. I hadn’t had much success against him, so I decided to try it. All of his numbers – in, out, up, down – were good, except for right down the middle. There it was: .140-something...

"When a fastball is right down the middle, sometimes they’re thrown off," said Chen. "When they see the ball away, they know to stay back. When the pitch is in, they know to pull their hands in. When they see the ball right down the middle, they might get caught in between. They aren’t used to it, so a bad pitch is actually a good pitch."

Vahe Gregorian writes that Danny Duffy is "the real deal", pure, unfiltered Duff-man.

Rangers outfielder Alex Rios, though to be a potential trade target of the Royals, is being targeted by the Yankees, Mariners, Giants, and Reds reports Ken Rosenthal and Jon Morosi. Will Carroll reports things are heating up with the Reds on Rios.

Mitch Maier and Blake Wood, once-teammates in Kansas City and buddies for life, are reunited at AA Northwest Arkansas.

Salvador Perez has changed agents. His last agent should be fired for the ridiculously cheap long-term deal he negotiated for the now two-time All-Star catcher.

Former Royals outfielder Rich Thompson will compete on Sunday's episode of "American Ninja Warrior" on NBC. Thompson was a Rule 5 pick who briefly played for the Royals in 2004, mostly as a pinch-runner.

Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo worked out for 28 teams this weekend and reports were it went very well. Castillo is a right-hander with good gap power, although not as much upside as recent Cuban imports Yoenis Cespesdes and Yasiel Puig. The Royals reportedly were one of the teams scouting him.

You can now combine your hatred of A.J. Pierzynski with your hatred of the St. Louis Cardinals. Saves us all a lot of time and energy.

The Hall of Fame inducted three great players and three great managers, but don't overlook the fact they honored one of the greatest baseball writers of all-time - Roger Angell.

The Hall of Fame also changed their eligibility rules, shortening the time a candidate can stay on the ballot from fifteen years to ten, requiring voters to sign a code of conduct, and disclosing the names of voters.

If the asking price is too high for Troy Tulowitzki, the Royals should try to trade for "Troy Tulowizki". Troy is one of the best shortstops since Cal Ripkin, Jr.

What is the difference between a sports movie and a romantic comedy? Bill Simmons investigates.

Guardians of the Galaxy hasn't even come out yet and its sequel already has a release date.

Casting for new characters for Season 5 of "Game of Thrones" have been announced. Which of them will be naked? Tune in to find out!

A step back yesterday, but let's keep this momentum going all the way to the Wild Card. Your song of the day is "Don't Stop me Now" by Queen: