Royals Rumblings - News for October 6, 2015
Craig Brown at Royals Authority puts a bow on the regular season.
We didn’t hear much from the Royals Panic Squad the last week of the season. The group who was fretting over the September slide and the potential of losing home field advantage. While I hate to paint any fan or group of fans with a broad brush, the fans who were panicking, felt very much to be new fans to the team and baseball in general. The baseball season is a long one. It’s a grind. Teams rarely play at peak level for the entire six months. The Royals clearly took the foot off the gas in September. They knew the division was theirs, and the intensity we saw as early as April evaporated. I understand how some could worry. Hell, I was starting to get a little nervous myself. There is no "switch" to flip. Certainly, the playoffs would bring new energy to the team, but the losing in September (and the ways they were losing) was borderline ridiculous.
Now, the Royals close the 2015 season with a five game winning streak. They have home field advantage. They finished exactly the way you wanted them to finish. Everyone should not only be happy, they should be thrilled.
Ken Rosenthal at Fox Sports proclaims the "Royals are back."
The Royals lost their mojo when they started resting banged-up players and removed Alcides Escobar from the leadoff spot, but voila! They’re essentially healthy now, except for closer Greg Holland, who recently underwent Tommy John surgery. And even without Holland, their bullpen is the best of any AL qualifier, and maybe as good as the Pirates’. As for Escobar, his .293 on-base percentage makes him less than ideal in the leadoff spot, but the Royals are 103-59 (.636) over the past two seasons, including playoffs, when he bats first. Manager Ned Yost, as perplexed as the rest of us, told the FOX broadcasters Saturday, "Find one of those sabermetric dudes and figure this one out. I don’t understand it. It’s a mystery to me."
The Royals are no mystery. They’re just good.
No surprise, the Royals set a record for TV ratings for the year on Fox Sports Kansas City.
Royals games on Fox Sports Kansas City in 2015 averaged an all-time best 12.3 rating — 114,000 households — in the Kansas City market, according to Nielsen. That’s the highest local TV rating in Royals’ history and the highest in baseball for a regional sports network since the Seattle Mariners averaged a 13.2 rating in 2002.
Dayton Moore says the post-season is done, but there's not much for a General Manager to do.
"This is the time of year when there’s really not a whole lot you can do as a general manager except for plan for the future," Moore said. "So, I’m a fan like everyone else. I am going to enjoy it and root for our team. It’s a very enjoyable and rewarding time for your franchise. It’s a time of celebration."
David Schoenfield of ESPN looks at the blueprint to winning a championship, with the Royals faring well in some traits. (h/t Craig D.)
So the numbers seem pretty decisive here: Put the ball in play and good things will happen. Keep in mind that you're facing better pitching in the postseason. From 2010-2014, the strikeout percentage in the playoffs was 21.7 percent compared to 19.4 percent in the regular season. The batting average dropped from .254 to .236 and BABIP from .297 to .283. In their three playoff seasons, the Giants' wOBA was .297 compared to .298 for all playoff teams, so they haven't necessarily been an offensive powerhouse. They've hit just .243. But with runners in scoring position, they raised their average to .256 and their wOBA to .329. With a runner on third, they've hit .276 and cut their strikeout rate to 15.1 percent. The Royals hit .362 last October with a runner on third and .294 with runners in scoring position. The emphasis on contact has helped both teams in RBI situations.
The team with the highest strikeout rate in the playoffs since 2010? The A's, at 29.8 percent over 11 games.
Michael Baumann at Grantland previews the most exciting players to watch this post-season.
Center Field: Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals
Center field is loaded. I could go 15- to 20-deep on players I find interesting in these playoffs if you limited me to center field and third base. But I have to make a choice, and great defense is more fun in baseball than great offense. There’s not that much leeway in how guys swing the bat and run the bases, but there’s room for tremendous creativity in how they catch the ball. Cain is one of the game’s elite defensive center fielders, and two years ago he hit like someone who was in the game for his glove. Then he turned into an average-to-above-average hitter last year at age 28, and took another step forward this year to become a legitimate top-five center fielder. No offense to Jacoby Ellsbury, Joc Pederson, Andrew McCutchen, Carlos Gomez, or Kevin Pillar, but Cain is on another level for me.
Wade Davis had a historic season.
Don't forget there's a free public rally at the K today with gates opening at 11:15 a.m.
Frank White gives his take on what the Royals need to do to win in the playoffs.
Kendrys Morales has left Scott Boras to sign with the Wasserman Group.
This evaluation of manager reviews shows Ned Yost used his challenges at the most crucial times.
The Star reveals some of its top submitted Royals poems from fans.
The "Taylor Swift curse" helped the Royals steal home field advantage.
Forbes looks at the "bang per buck" for each of the playoff teams.
Dave Cameron at Fangraphs says the Wild Card game should be a bullpen affair.
No Royals are in the top twenty of jerseys sold his year at MLB.com.
The A's are looking for answers in a disappointing season, with poor clubhouse chemistry being a culprit.
Daily fantasy sports sites are being accused of insider trading.
Chip Kelly is pulling The Producers scam in Philly.
Jason Whitlock has yet another ex-employer as he and ESPN have parted ways.
Is Kindergarten getting too academic in America?
Voters may not like that a Libertarian U.S. Senate candidate sacrificed and drank the blood of a goat and may want to lead a neo-Nazi Civil War.
MacGyver is getting a reboot on CBS.