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Royals Rumblings - News for October 12, 2015

Not gonna lie, today is a must-win game.

Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for October 12, 2015

The Royals know they wasted some opportunities on Sunday.

"When you get to this type of scenario and you don’t capitalize, you get what happens today," manager Ned Yost said. "They did."...

"I think losing is the frustration," Gordon said. "Obviously, when you get guys on base and it doesn’t happen, there’s frustration there."

Ned wasn't too pleased with the pitch recognition.

"At times with runners in scoring position we probably swung as some balls that probably wouldn’t have been called strikes," Royals manager Ned Yost said.

Sam Mellinger writes the Royals were historically inefficient.

The Royals were, truly, nearly historic in their inefficiency. They hit two home runs, two doubles, walked four times and somehow scored only two runs. According to the awesome Baseball-Reference, teams collected at least two home runs, four extra-base hits and four walks 382 times. They scored at least three runs 380 times. The Royals put so much time and energy into baserunning. This year, no team was better hitting with two outs. For them, wasting chances like this is a particularly fatal flaw.

"Definitely frustration," Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said. "We had a couple chances today. We just didn’t get it done, myself included. Just didn’t get it done."

The Astros were pretty impressed with Edinson Volquez's stuff early on.

Through four innings Sunday, Edinson Volquez was outdueling Dallas Keuchel. "He had his best stuff," Astros center fielder Carlos Gomez said of Volquez. "He was throwing filthy change-ups, running sinkers, 95 to 96 (mph) and that big curve."

But a couple of misplaced pitches in the fifth inning cost Volquez one of the most memorable games of his career, and he wound up with the loss in the Royals’ 4-2 defeat in Game 3 of the AL Division Series.

Are the Astros the new Royals?

Though you might hear this year’s Astros described as "one-dimensional," the narrative being that they live and die by the homer, that couldn’t be further from the truth. The Astros run, play defense, and can wrap games up with a lead after six innings with their bullpen, as did last year’s Royals. And, like that same Kansas City team, a deep postseason run by Houston would be great for the game. A compelling turnaround by a team that was considered the laughingstock of the MLB just a couple years ago, led by an unconventional approach that could help shift the public perception of strikeouts, home runs, and teams built around the extremes.

Vahe Gregorian writes that it has been the other deadline trade that has been the big winner for Kansas City.

And the baffling Cueto, even accounting for some bad luck, couldn’t meet the moment. After a semipromising span of stability in his volatile time with the Royals, his fickle season fizzled again. It was a deal the Royals had to make, and one we still applaud for its spirit if not its results, but his latest misadventure set the wandering mind to wonder if all that trade-deadline commotion was worth it.

Then along came Ben Zobrist, the understated undercard of Dayton Moore’s midseason maneuvering, the acquisition that seemed almost like a luxury when the Royals reeled him in shortly after the Cueto deal was perceived as making them whole....

With that, Zobrist reminded that he has been the most crucial addition the Royals made since spring training.

Sam Mellinger is still amazed by Eric Hosmer's big hit on Friday.

Perez’s pitch is measured more than nine inches off the plate, and about a foot and a half off the ground. Because we can know everything in baseball now, the wonderful tells us only 20 pitches that far from the center of the strike zone turned into hits this year. Hosmer is watching this on the phone, after living it in the batter’s box, and the whole thing is making him laugh.

"I guess (Jeff Francoeur) had a big impact on me my rookie season," he jokes. "I have no idea. That’s all I’ve got."

Pete Rose was not a fan.

Edinson Volquez talks to Lee Judge about how he turned his career around in Pittsburgh last year.

According to Edinson, the Padres emphasized pitching to the outside part of the plate; establish the down and away fastball and go from there. But if you keep pitching hitters away, away, away, the smart ones get on top of the plate. Bellying up to the dish makes the outside corner of the plate the middle of their hitting zone and the pitcher is in trouble — that pitch on the outside corner becomes very hittable.

In Pittsburgh they wanted Volquez to pitch inside; back hitters off the plate, then go away.

Sam Miller at Baseball Prospectus gets into why having Alcides Escobar lead off works.

These days, every playoff team—every team, really—has to have its memeably cute affectation, the antlers or the bubble machine or the dougie or this, Esky Magic. What’s amazing is that Esky Magic seems to be the first meme that actually affects the choices that a Major League team is making on the field. It’s no harmless celebration; it’s, astoundingly, something that guides decisions. I’m almost certainly overselling this; but am I? What other reason is there for Alcides Escobar to bat leadoff? Ned Yost knows this—he put Gordon or Zobrist in the leadoff spot in September, and he undoubtedly knows that the Royals scored more runs in those games, and that the Royals lost those games because their pitchers were worse, and yet here we are, with ALDScobar at the top of the lineup every day again. I’m not even mad, guys! I’m amused to no end, because whether the Royals win or lose I’m watching a team, in 2015, make decisions based on a hashtag. Reported the Astros’ radio broadcast, "Ned Yost has said a few times maybe he doesn’t get on base as much as you’d like the leadoff guy to, but when he’s at the top of the lineup this team wins for whatever reason." For whatever reason! "There's no statistical reason," he has said. "It just works. It just works." God bless the Royals, God bless Ned Yost, and God bless me for having no personal stake in whether or not the Royals win.

On Grantland, Rany Jazayerli writes about how the bad times as a Royals fan bring people together - like they did for Sung Woo.

Logging in to Royals Twitter was like Norm walking into Cheers — everyone knew your name, no one judged you, no one cared what you did when you weren’t there, and while you were there you were treated like family. That didn’t make the team any better, and it didn’t make us bitch about the team any less — quite the opposite, actually — but it made the losing more tolerable. Misery loves company because every experience is better when shared with others.

Kansas City sports fans weren't too happy with the weekend.

The Royals may be losing Assistant General Manager J.J. Piccolo.

Former Royals manager Trey Hillman is now a coach with the Astros, and he saw Kansas City's success coming.

MLB suspends Dodgers second baseman Chase Utley for his slide taking out shortstop Ruben Tejada in Game Two of the NLDS. Here's how players reacted to the slide.

The Qualifying Offer value for free agents has been set at $15.8 million.

Jessica Mendoza will be back as an analyst for ESPN next season.

Why Zack Greinke is the perfect pitcher for the big data era.

Zack Greinke's infant son in a banana suit? Zack Greinke's infant son in a banana suit.

The Chiefs lose to the hapless Bears at home and lose Jamaal Charles to a torn UCL.

Kansas State football loses a heartbreaker to #2 TCU on Tuesday.

USC's Steve Sarkisian will take a leave of absence after reports he has been drunk for games.

The images from the Hubble telescope are pretty mind-blowing.

How one stupid tweet ruined Justine Sacco's life.

Randy Quaid is arrested for trying to sneak across the Canadian border. Build that wall Donald!

Is Michael B. Jordan set to play Boba Fett in a Star Wars spinoff movie?

Your song of the day is David Hasslehoff with "True Survivor."