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Royals Rumblings - News for September 11, 2014

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We're good enough. We're smart enough. And doggone it, we are still in first place.

Duane Burleson

Royals Rumblings - News for September 11, 2014

Rany Jazayerli defends Ned Yost's decision to pinch-run Jarrod Dyson on Tuesday. Kind of.

So by pinch-running with Dyson, Yost set up the potential for a double steal, which would 1) eliminate the possibility of a game-ending GIDP and 2) mean that a single – from either Perez or Hosmer, who at this point in his career is basically the definition of a singles hitter – would tie the game.

Oh, and the icing on the cake is that Joe Nathan is one of the easiest pitchers in baseball to run on. He had given up 10 steals (in 51 innings!) in 10 attempts already this year, and since the beginning of the 2006 season, basestealers were 44 for 46 against him. With no pickoffs. Even with the element of surprise eliminated, the Royals had two of the five fastest players in the majors on base against a pitcher with a slow move to home plate.

Put it this way: if this were Stratomatic and we were rolling dice and everything I just wrote were written as a set of probabilities, this is exactly the move I would have made. It’s not very often that I can say that about anything Ned Yost does.

The problem with the move was everything else.

Yordano Ventura is amazing at not allowing stolen bases, writes Ben Lindbergh of Grantland.

However, while both starters do a good job of controlling the running game, there’s a difference in degree. Ventura hasn’t allowed a stolen-base attempt — not in his 27 games and 26 starts this year, and not in his three starts in 2013. With Ventura on the mound, opposing runners have seen 272 stolen base opportunities — defined by Baseball-Reference as "a plate appearance through which a runner was on first or second with the next base open" — and have let them all pass.

"Really?" Royals catcher Erik Kratz says, when I cite this stat. "No attempts? I didn’t know that. That’s pretty sick."

Raul Ibanez is around to give his teammates goosebumps.

It was the day Ibanez, 42, called a players-only team meeting in the visiting weight room in Chicago.

"I just gave my honest observations,'' says Ibanez, who joined the team only three weeks earlier after being released by the Los Angeles Angels, "and told them about the potential and talent they had. The talent here is so incredible. They just need to believe that.

"So I told them that looking in from the outside, every team hated to play them. Everyone saw the talent they had. This was their opportunity. They were on the cusp of greatness.

"I just thought they needed a belief.''

Jeffery Flanagan warns this is just the beginning of the pennant-race emotional roller coaster and reminds us to relax.

But this just in: The Royals will lose more games this season in even more excruciatingly painful ways. So will the Tigers. So will the Mariners. And the A's. And the Indians. And any other team chasing a wild-card spot.

That is the nature of a September playoff chase, and it is something a new generation of Royals fans must get used to over these final two-plus weeks.

The Mariners blew a 2-1 game at home to Houston on Tuesday. The Indians lost 4-3 at home to Minnesota. You want anger? Check out the Twitter feeds following those playoff contenders....

If the Tigers stumble in their remaining non-Royals games on the schedule and the Royals take care of business and wind up winning the division, will anyone care that the Royals lost the season series to the Tigers?

Dave Cameron deconstructs the myth of second-half momentum.

A second-half record doesn't really tell us anything about what a team should expect to do in the postseason. And no, a team's September record or even a team's performance over the final few weeks of the season don't really matter, either, at least when it comes to predicting postseason success.

If anything, the A's, Tigers, and Brewers are examples of why we shouldn't put any stock in mythical momentum. After all, who had more momentum than the A's going into August?

Baseball tweaks the imperfect home plate collision rule.

Sports on Earth looks at how some independent leagues are looking at tweaks to the rules to speed up the pace of the game. Hey look, a Dan Cortes sighting!

Goodbye Roger Goodell.

The internet's best snark in reaction to the Apple iPhone 6 and Apple Watch.

Pop tarts are not just for baseball bloggers anymore, they are for Capitol Hill staffers as well.

Vox.com makes the case against time-zones. We should all be on OUR TIME.

The year of Pratt! Chris Pratt will host the season premiere of "Saturday Night Live."

A sneak peak at the Batmobile from the upcoming film "Batman v. Superman."

Your song of the day is Matt and Kim with "Its Alright."