Royals Rumblings - News for September 19, 2014
Small sample size, but Ned Yost's new lineup has gotten results.
Alcides Escobar was moved to leadoff, and he has responded with seven hits, including a home run, in 21 at-bats.
Nori Aoki, moved to the No. 2 spot, has 13 hits in 21 at-bats.
Lorenzo Cain, moved to the No. 3 spot, has six hits, including a giant three-run homer Wednesday off Chris Sale, in 21 at-bats.
The top three hitters are 26 for 63 (.413) since the shakeup.
And overall, the Royals are averaging over five runs a game in that short span.
Jeff Long at Baseball Prospectus looks at James Shields and dissects why Big Game James is able to succeed in tough situations.
Another big component to this is that Shields performs best when he maintains a balanced pitch mix. Kings of Kauffman noted that Shields struggled at times in 2014 when his cutter usage crept up and opposing hitters could sit on the pitch. By maintaining a good mix of pitches Shields is able to utilize his cutter or four-seam fastball in situations where he feels they will give him an edge over the hitter, without having to worry that the hitter knows it’s coming.
The result of all of this is that Shields is highly effective with runners in scoring position; he appears to be able to "buckle down," not necessarily due to his moral fiber but due to a well reasoned plan.
The Royals needed a few bats to come alive to have a chance in September. And Nori Aoki has been up to the challenge.
Norichika Aoki has the 11th-best wRC+ (191) in #MLB in September. #Royals— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) September 18, 2014
And Alex Gordon?
Alex Gordon’s monthly strikeout percentages: March/April: 13.9% May: 12.2% June: 25.5% July: 19.5% August: 19.5% September: 27.7% #Royals— Beyond the Box Score (@BtBScore) September 18, 2014
Craig Brown at Royals Authority doesn't want to overlook the impressive performance Yordano Ventura turned in on Wednesday.
Worth mentioning also, was the performance of Yordano Ventura. As badly as the Royals needed the bats to come alive, it wouldn’t have mattered if Ventura hadn’t been able to steady the pitching ship. He delivered seven massively strong innings against the White Sox. Coming a year after his major league debut it was one of his best starts of the season in what undoubtedly was his biggest start of his professional career.
Bring on Detroit.
Aaron Charles with Rant Sports argues Royals reliever Wade Davis has a case for American League Comeback Player of the Year.
Ron Washington pulled a "Tony Pena", apparently resigning as manager because of an extramarital affair.
Tony Blengino at Fangraphs examines Oakland's epic collapse.
If you don't think Derek Jeter's farewell tour is obnoxious enough yet, this will probably put you over the top.
Bill Barnwell at Grantland imagines what professional football would be like without an NFL.
Fivethirtyeight provides a rough guide to watching the Scottish independence vote.
Your song of the day is Rage Against the Machine with "Know Your Enemy."