Royals Rumblings - News for October 19, 2015
R.J. Anderson at Baseball Prospectus writes that the Royals success with late-game rallies may be due to them being such good bad-ball hitters.
True, the Royals posted the majors' highest regular-season batting average in high-leverage situations; however, their OPS was just third in the majors and second in the AL, behind their ALCS opponent. Alas, the Blue Jays had the best regular-season offense in baseball, so you'd expect them to be the best in high-leverage spots as well. To control for that variable, Baseball-Reference tracks a statistic called tOPS+; its purpose is to tell us how a team performed better in a split relative to their overall numbers. Sure enough, the Royals did hit better in high-leverage spots than the Blue Jays did to their overall numbers, but they tied for second . . . with the Rockies. The Cubs, meanwhile, led the majors, meaning the Royals are, at best, the second most-clutch playoff team. That data is enough for many to put the subject to rest.
In spite of that, those willing to think abstractly will find Ken Arneson's hypothesis about the hidden October value of the bad-ball hitter worth their time:
But there are times, against a good pitcher on a good day who is simply not giving hitters a good pitch to hit, that it is valuable to have a player who often does damage even with a bad pitch to hit. And those times happen more often in the playoffs.
Doug Padilla at ESPN writes that the Royals have the luxury of handing leads to an outstanding bullpen.
"It's fun to be a part of this bullpen," Herrera said. "We're trying to do our job individually but at the end of the day it's about the result of the team if we do our job."
Making the effort of the bullpen even more impressive is the fact All-Star closer Greg Holland was lost for the season because of an elbow injury that required Tommy Johnson surgery. So instead of a final three composed of Herrera, Davis and Holland, it now goes from Herrera to Ryan Madson to Davis, although Madson was avoided Saturday after throwing 18 pitches in a scoreless inning Friday.
"With those three guys down there you just feed off that; it gets contagious," Hochevar said. "It really started with Greg three years ago and him taking the bull by the horns down there and going out and doing what he did. And then it just started a trickle effect. Now granted, you have some very talented arms, especially with those three guys at the back end, but it just kind of blends together for sure."
Luke Hochevar is happy to be involved in this year's post-season run, after missing last year's.
"These are moments that you dream of," Hochevar said after Game 1. "You just pray that you can get back and the team can get back. To have it happen means a great deal."
It means a lot to his manager as well. Ned Yost noted that Hochevar and Alex Gordon joined the Royals in 2007, when the Royals finished last in the American League Central. The Royals didn’t have a winning record during Hochevar’s tenure until 2013.
"They were here from the beginning when we were really, really bad," Yost said. Hochevar "had to endure all that. And we finally get to the point where we go to the playoffs and go to the World Series, and he can’t pitch.
Chris Kamler at Pine Tar Press has seemingly found the fan that called off Ryan Goins on that pop-up miscue in Game Two.
A Royals fan claims he helped change the fortunes for the Kansas City Royals on Saturday – helping to incite a critical gaffe by the Blue Jays.
"I’ve tried it before and never had success," Joshua Hydeman, an ATM repairman from Mission, Kansas on Sunday. "I was shocked that it worked."...
"When Goins started waving for it, I leaned forward, cupped my hands and shouted ‘I’ve got it! I’ve got it! I’ve got it!’ On the second ‘I’ve got it’ Goins stopped and fell to the ground." Hydeman was certain that his voice was heard and affected the play. "Everyone in the row in front of me was shocked it worked. I know without any doubt Goins heard me."
Despite people thinking that Jose Bautista threw him under the bus, Goins thinks the opposite.
#BlueJays’ Goins: "For anyone outside this clubhouse who thinks Jose Bautista doesn’t have my back, they’re crazy."— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) October 18, 2015
The Royals gave Salvador Perez more rest this year, but he still has the heaviest workload in baseball.
It was shortly thereafter the Royals vowed to rest him more this year, and they did, in part because of their fast start and ensuing comfy cushion in their division. But Perez, only 25 years old, still started 137 games behind the dish during the regular season, six more than second-place finisher and his role model: St. Louis' Yadier Molina....
"I think there's been a lot of talk about whether he looks fresher right now than he did at this time last year, and the workload has been a little bit less than last year, but it's hard to say," Royals catching coach Pedro Grifol said.
Owner David Glass says the Royals are set up to be a multi-year contender.
"When we hired Dayton, that was the plan all along," owner David Glass said as Salvador Perez sprayed him with champagne inside the Royals' clubhouse. "We weren't interested in just getting there one year and not getting back. "That required a lot of patience on his part, along with [club president] Dan [Glass], despite the criticism to the contrary from some people in the media. He stood in there and built something that is here to last."
Jonathan Rand at Sports on Earth writes the Royals are relentless.
Blue Jays legend and Kansas City-area resident Joe Carter is pulling for both teams this week.
As for the championship series, Carter has seen one team continue its plan at the plate, the other not so much. "It seemed like the Jays were trying to hit the ball nine miles, and the Royals were sticking to what they do best —a base hit here, a double there, moving runners along," Carter said.
Jeffrey Pasternostro of Baseball Prospectus reports on the Arizona Fall League.
Bubba Starling, RF, Kansas City Royals (Surprise Saguaros) 3-4, RBI, K
Man, I don't know. He's 23, struggled in his first taste of Double-A this year, but the athletic tools are still excellent. I don't know if he ever really truly figures it out, but the outfield version of Christian Colon isn't an awful outcome I guess.
Rob Neyer writes that Troy Tulowitzki has been too passive in the ALCS.
Jon Heyman reports that Royals Assistant General Manager J.J. Piccolo has interviewed for the GM opening in Philadelphia.
A-Rod breaks a TV with a football on-set the Fox NFL pre-game show.
Zack Greinke will opt-out of his contract with the Dodgers.
Soon-to-be free agent Chris Young could be targeted by the Orioles this winter.
The Michigan/Michigan State game Saturday had a bonkers ending.
What was up with this play, Colts?
The Hamilton Tiger-Cats clinch a spot in the CFL playoffs.
Joey Logano wins the Hollywood Casino 400 at Kansas Speedway over the weekend.
Polygraphs don't really work, so why do police interrogators still use them?
Amazon is suing people for writing fake reviews.
On-screen, TV is more diverse than ever, but there is still room for improvement in the writer's room.
Why don't more Canadians musicians reference their homeland in their songs?
Canadian polls show the Liberals likely to win elections today, making Justin Trudeau the new Prime Minister.
Your song of the day is The Three Dead Trolls in a Baggie with "The Toronto Song."