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Royals Rumblings - News for May 18, 2015

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Be Monarch.

Ed Zurga/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for May 18, 2015

Grantland's Jonah Keri wonders if this new and improved Eric Hosmer is for real.

More broadly, Hosmer is hitting the ball harder and killing worms less often than ever before: His ground ball rate sits at 46.8 percent, and he’s on pace to hit into fewer double plays than in any previous season. Meanwhile, he’s been a line-drive machine, whacking liners at a career-high rate of 26.1 percent. Not coincidentally, he’s hitting the ball harder than he has in three years, and he’s pulling the ball more than ever before (38.5 percent of the time).

Even though Hosmer is tearing the cover off the ball and pitchers are scared to pitch to him, we still can’t quite assume he’s turned the corner for good and become the perennial All-Star everyone expected when the Royals drafted him seven years ago. For one thing, he’s homered on 23.3 percent of the fly balls he’s hit this year. While a stronger, more experienced, more disciplined hitter would be expected to convert more fly balls into homers, that figure is so far above Hosmer’s career average of 11.8 percent that we should probably expect some pullback there.

Still, given all the progress in Hosmer’s skill set, you can start to get at least a little excited.

Lee Judge looks at what makes Hosmer special.

Pitchers pitch to the outside part of the plate to negate a hitter’s power, but if the hitter has power to the opposite field, the pitcher is in a bind; the hitter can leave the yard whether the pitch is inside or outside. Hitting the ball to left-center with power makes Eric Hosmer special … and the hair doesn’t hurt, either.

Danny Duffy is still in the rotation, but he may be on thin ice.

Ned Yost does not issue ultimatums, or deliver messages through the press. But he came close when discussing the prognosis on struggling starter Danny Duffy, who allowed four runs in five innings to the Yankees on Saturday.

"We saw him some improvement last night," Yost said. "We’re going to have to see more improvement in his next start."

Sam Mellinger writes that Duffy is complicated.

"I can’t recall a stretch like this in the last three, four years for me," he says. "But you have to stay even-keeled. I’m the last person that’s ever going to make any excuses. I feel great. Strong as ever."

That last part is critical. Duffy and the Royals hid an injury during the postseason, but every indication here is that both player and team believe this is mental, not physical. There are mechanical checkpoints they want him focusing on, like keeping his chin down during his delivery, but these are something like tricks to free his mind.

The organization believed Duffy had graduated from these types of stretches. Not just the results, but all of it. He has a natural tendency to throw too hard. It is not all coincidence that his four worst starts — these last three, and his first — are the four with his highest average fastball velocity.

Vahe Gregorian says resting Salvador Perez is a delicate issue.

Because it’s hard to measure the sinister, cumulative wear-and-tear until it starts to show. It’s early in the season, not even 25 percent through, and on Sunday Perez was one of the last Royals to his locker after being encased in ice and hot and cold towels and getting rehydrated in the training room. He limped slightly as he walked, an ice pack still wrapped around his left thigh.

"Nothing’s bothering me right now; all the players have something hurt," he said. Just the same, any time he plays a day game after a night game, Perez said, "I do have a lot of recovery; it’s a little harder."

Andy McCullough writes about the successful battery of Drew Butera and Jeremy Guthrie.

He had caught Guthrie previously, including the All-Star series played in Japan after last season. Butera joined Guthrie, Perez, Kratz and Alcides Escobar on the team along with future Royals player Franklin Morales. The Royals were less than two weeks removed from the World Series when the Japan series started, and Butera got a sense of the team he would join the next season.

"It was great to see their personalities," Butera said. "They’re a lot of fun guys, laid back and relaxed, but when the lights come on, it’s all business. I really admire that, and I hope to enjoy it for a while."

Matthew DeFranks of Fox Sports Kansas City gives an update on the injured Jason Vargas and Alex Rios.

Sunday was "Dressed to the Nines" Day at the K, so everyone was looking fine.

John Dewan has the Royals at 30 Defensive Runs Saved, blowing away the league. (subscriber only)

There's a hamburger joint in Sao Paulo, Brazil that watches every Royals game because of Paulo Orlando.

Royals minor league outfielder Brandon Downs had a five-hit night, falling a home run short of the cycle for Class A Lexington over the weekend.

The Marlins become the second team to fire a manager this year, canning skipper Mike Redmond after a 16-22 start. Former Royal Jeff Conine will not be a candidate. No word on whether Marlins Guy - who by the way, crashed the Preakness, will be a candidate.

Jack Moore at Hardball Times looks at the 1961 Expansion Draft and baseball's anti-competitive nature.

A judge gave class-action status to fans suing MLB for its blackout rules.

St. Louis Cardinals fans set the Guinness World Record for stupidest Guinness World Record ever.

Oh the Los Angeles Clippers really Clipp'd it up.

Mitt Romney boxed Evander Holyfield for charity.

So "Mad Max" was pretty good huh? More people wanted to see "Pitch Perfect 2."

The trailer for the new Steve Jobs movie. Is Ashton Kutcher in this one too?

"Mad Men" ended its run, what did you think? What did the show tell us about American history?

Your song of the day is B.B. King and Bobby "Blue" Bland with "Let the Good Times Roll."