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Royals Rumblings - News for August 20, 2014

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Jinxes? We don't need no stinkin' jinxes.

Hannah Foslien

Royals Rumblings - News for August 20, 2014

Rany Jazayerli has a nice long piece at Grantland at how the Royals got to this place, this beautiful, wonderful winning place.

There are six weeks left in the season, and just about anything can still happen. The Royals could lose 10 of 12 and fall out of the race before Labor Day, and leave us remembering their brief flirtations with first place as a beautiful anomaly. These are the Royals, of whom another failed manager, Buddy Bell, once famously said, "I never say it can’t get worse." Current manager Ned Yost has kept the clubhouse together all season, but his tactical decisions, which had a lot to do with him getting fired in Milwaukee while the Brewers were in a pennant race in 2008, continue to make Royals fans nervous. There’s still plenty of time for everything to go wrong.

But suddenly, gloriously, Royals fans are starting to ponder the possibility that things might go right. Playoff tickets went on sale over the weekend, and we’re trying to find a way to coax SungWoo back in October. We’re starting to believe again — in the team, and in a front office that has borne the brunt of our frustrations for more than eight years. I’m starting to believe that maybe I was wrong. About the front office. About the Shields trade. About everything.

Dave Cameron at Fangraphs wants to talk about my favorite topic - Alex Gordon.

There is absolutely an argument to be made that Gordon’s UZR may be incorrect — though interestingly, people only ever seem to assume that numbers are too extreme, ignoring the possibility that the measurement error could also mean that his defensive rating might be too low — and if you were trying to answer the question of who "the best player in baseball" is, you’d definitely want to use multi-season regressed defensive numbers. But even using those kinds of calculations, there’s no way to get Alex Gordon out of the top 5-10 position players in MLB this year. The only "absurd" argument would be that Gordon hasn’t been one of the best players in baseball this year.

Jarrod Dyson's hot bat means more rest for Lorenzo Cain.

Yost explained that the decision to start Dyson lately was not a reflection on Cain.

"I'm just going with the hot hand," Yost said.

Indeed, Dyson has been hot lately. In his last 13 games before Monday, Dyson was hitting .355 with a .815 OPS. He also stole eight bases during that stretch. Cain, though, hasn't exactly been a slouch. Though he did have four strikeouts Saturday night, Cain was hitting .326 with a .770 OPS and four stolen bases over his last 16 games. Yost simply has liked Dyson's chances a bit better lately.

"You try to mix and match," Yost said. "We go on matchups. We look at a bunch of things. Sunday we looked at (Tommy) Milone and he pitches down and away and down and away to righties. That's not good for righties. So we went with Dyson."

Ned is having fun.

"There's always some stress, because you're trying to win," he says. "... but all the other stuff, I don't stress about."

In fact, Yost will go as far as saying he's actually enjoying his job.

"Absolutely, it's fun," he says. "... This is why we do it, to be here in our situation."

Billy Butler says the team isn't just content to be in first place. They want to surpass Baltimore.

If you're in first already, you've got to play for something," Butler said. "You have to stretch your lead out. You have to look forward to something. So I think Baltimore is what we're looking at now. Trying to gain ground on that."

Then, of course, Butler conceded the more obvious concern.

"I think, more importantly, we want to separate ourselves from the Tigers if we can. I think that's the main goal."

WE WANT BAMA.

Looks like my Buckeyes will have to pay for find a new quarterback.

Just what you've always wanted, kids re-enacting scenes from Emmy-nominated dramas. Nap time is just a flat circle.

Kansas City is known for art. (NSFW - language).

Stats aren't just a cool thing to help your local baseball team, they can also possibly help us govern better.

This mall ad from St. Joseph, Missouri is going viral because of its awfulness. How has Ray Vinson not gone viral?

Your song of the day is The Rentals with "Colorado".