Royals Rumblings - News for September 1
Sam Mellinger writes that once again, its time for the Royals to show us what they're made of.
In the broadest terms, this wildly inconsistent Royals season has shown one bankable constant — when the team hits, it wins; when it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
Toward that end, it’s worth noting that one rival evaluator said he sees some signs of fatigue in the Royals. Of course, nobody feels fresh at the end of August. A lot of times, the teams that separate over the last month are the ones able to push through to their second winds.
Whatever the details, the Royals find themselves in the exact spot they’ve been talking about for some time. They are a good team that’s in a good position for a playoff spot. How well they do there may be disproportionately determined by how well they keep this week to a blip instead of a trend.
Richard Bergstrom of ESPN wonders if the James Shields-Wil Myers was really worth it.
The Royals might end up achieving their goal of reaching the playoffs in 2014, but with the offensive prospects failing to develop, it’s reasonable to wonder if their chances are good to get to the World Series. In hindsight, perhaps keeping Myers and Odorizzi and planning for contention in 2015 would have been wiser and cheaper. On the other hand, I imagine Dayton Moore is just happy the Royals are on the verge of their first playoff appearance in a generation. The question then becomes: "Just how long will Royals fans remain happy?"
BUT WHAT ABOUT HOPE?
Ned Yost is trying not to be a Debbie Downer.
Only one man can understand the inner sanctum of Ned Yost’s psyche, but its inhabitant advertises the space as a place of optimism.
"I do not allow negative thoughts into my mind," Yost said one day last week. "If they start creeping in, I stop it. Kick ’em out."
Asked for a demonstration of this practice, his hands gripped his chair. His head shook. His eyes bulged. "Stop!" he shouted.
Buster Olney has a piece about Danny Duffy's transformation since Tommy John Surgery.
Only five MLB pitchers have thrown a higher percentage of fastballs than Duffy this season, and he’s been able to locate that pitch in a manner that he couldn’t before his surgery. In 2011, he averaged a whopping 18.6 pitches per inning, and in his first outings in 2012, that climbed to 19 pitches per inning. This year, he’s cut that number dramatically, to 16 pitches per inning. His average fastball velocity has declined almost two miles per hour from the days before his surgery, from 95.3 to 93.4, but it’s a better fastball because he can throw it for strikes.
Vahe Gregorian writes how the Royals handle Eric Hosmer when he returns could be a delicate situation.
But there are ample solutions here, including the simplest of all: Even if Hosmer is fully healthy, and that will take some doing, Butler should play first every few days to keep his mind uncluttered....
"I know what my role is on this team, and to do it to the best of my ability I think I need some time in the field," Butler said. "It doesn’t mean I have to play (in the field) every day. "I think there’s a happy medium where you can keep ‘Hos’ fresh and you can keep me involved there. "And I feel like I’ve earned that, and I’ve shown I can play there."
King of Kauffman also looks at the potential dilemma.
Which is more valuable, the offensive production of Butler at first and Willingham, or the defense of Hosmer with Butler as the Royals designated hitter? As the Royals value defense and run prevention, it seems as though the latter scenario, where the Royals go back to the lineup they had before Hosmer was injured, is the most likely.
MOVE BILLY BUTLER BACK TO THIRD BASE!
About Alex Gordon's home run last night.
Alex Gordon's HR was the 2nd-longest in KC this season, trailing only a 489-foot HR by Mike Trout pic.twitter.com/Zr8wno9IZp— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) September 1, 2014
George Brett thinks the current team is more talented than his 1985 championship-winning ballclub.
"I think you would take me over Moose," he begins, and, well, of course. "I think you would take Escobar over Buddy Biancalana and Onix Conception, right?"
Sure. Brett goes on.
He takes White over Infante. Perez over Jim Sundberg. Alex Gordon over Lonnie Smith. Willie Wilson over Cain or Dyson in center, but the combination of Cain and Aoki over Darryl Motley and Pat Sheridan in right. First base is close enough that Brett could make an argument either way, but he’ll take Steve Balboni and his franchise-record 36 home runs.
Depending on how you look at Butler’s season and the addition of Josh Willingham at DH, it’s either a push or relatively small advantage to the then-39-year-old Hal McRae from 1985.
Brett will take Bret Saberhagen over everyone the Royals have now, but after that it lines up pretty even.
Omar Infante is back, but not yet 100%. Eric Hosmer also went 2-6 with the game-winning single in his first rehab start for Omaha.
2014 draft pick first baseman Ryan O'Hearn was named Pioneer League MVP for the Idaho Falls Chukars after hitting 372/.449/.598 with 12 HR 50 RBI in 60 games.
Sam Mellinger has a nice long piece about Tim Grimes, the Royals fan suffering from melanoma. You can donate to Tim's cause here.
The A's acquired Adam Dunn, we acquired Jayson Nix. A difference in priorities I suppose.
Former Mizzou defensive lineman Michael Sam was cut by the Rams. This, despite ESPN's intrepid reporting on his appropriate shower habits.
Bill Murray is reduced to being a ticket-taker at minor league games.
Americans work too much. A sixth of us work 60+ hours a day. That's not including time spent on sports blogs!
Happy Labor Day everyone. Your song of the day is "God Damn Job" by the Replacements.