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Royals Rumblings - News for May 19, 2015

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Good night Bruce, good night.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for May 19, 2015

With the Reds coming into town, Andy McCullough explores whether pitcher Johnny Cueto could interest the Royals.

The Royals could join the pack of teams phoning Cincinnati general manager Walt Jocketty to express interest. The organization fields a farm system capable of sparking at least a discussion, rival executives say. To those executives, Cueto represents the one asset missing on the Royals’ roster: A genuine centerpiece for their rotation.

As a rule, general manager Dayton Moore dislikes public dissection of potential transactions. He does not monger rumors, and any discussion of a pursuit of Cueto, who is 3-3 with a 2.93 ERA, would be premature. But Moore indicated the Royals would search for upgrades as the summer continues.

"We’re always trying to make our team better," Moore told The Star in a telephone interview on Monday.

Craig Brown at Royals Authority looks at the stats and comes away impressed with the Royals.

The Royals run differential gives them a Pythagorean record of 24-13. Which is one game better than their actual record of 23-14. That’s unbelievable, yet not surprising. If that’s possible. (Pythagorean record is a simple formula based on runs scored and runs allowed to deliver an expected won-loss record. It’s not predictive of anything.)

More indicative of how a team has performed is the 3rd order winning percentage. This is a winning percentage adjusted for statistics and strength of schedule. Because it takes into account more than just raw runs scored and allowed, there’s a little more depth to 3rd order winning percentage. As of Monday, the Royals 3rd order winning percentage is 25-13, a .667 winning percentage. And best in the American League.

Mike Moustakas talks shifts.

Some teams still shift against Moustakas, though not every shift looks the same. Teams have infielders seemingly scattered everywhere when he comes up.

"I feel like I'm a quarterback looking over the defense when I come up," Moustakas said, smiling. "I have to have an idea what looks good and where the holes are." Last season, it didn't matter where the holes were. Moustakas somewhat stubbornly tried to slam balls through the shift. The results weren't pretty -- a career-low .212 average. Now, Moustakas tries to shoot balls through vacant spots. And he is taking walks. That is why Moustakas is hitting .319, with a healthy .378 on-base percentage.

Lee Judge writes about how hitters can take a pitch with a purpose.

Twins catcher Kurt Suzuki told me the way a hitter takes a pitch tells you what’s in his mind. If you throw him a curve and he lurches out onto his front foot, he wants that pitch; throw it again. If a guy stays back and spits on it, be careful; he’s seeing it well and won’t chase it out of the zone.

Wade confirmed that and said he would not throw Miguel Cabrera a curveball for a strike; Cabrera keeps his head still and sees the pitch out of Wade’s hand. If it’s a ball Miggy takes it, if it’s a strike, Miggy crushes it. Crush an off-speed pitch and the hitter pulls it into the short part of the park — home run territory. I said I wouldn’t write that and Wade said go ahead; Miggy already knows.

In fact, it’s become a running joke between them: when Wade runs down to the bullpen Miguel will get his attention and make a signal with his hand up around the letters on his uniform. He’s asking: "Fastballs up again today?"

Matthew DeFranks notes the Royals dominated interleague play last year, as they embark on their series against the Reds.

Last season, when they matched up with the National League West, the Royals were the best team in baseball during interleague play, going 15-5 against NL teams. They outscored their opponents 99-56 and became just the third team in the previous eight seasons to register 15 wins against the opposing league.

John Viril at Kings of Kauffman writes that Edinson Volquez has become the Royals' ace. God help us all.

Here's the Star's gallery of photos from "Dressed to the Nines" Day on Sunday.

The Yankees admitted they made a mistake not wearing throwback uniforms on Sunday's tribute to the Negro Leagues and will make it up to the Negro League Museum.

Former Royals pitcher Bruce Chen hangs 'em up.

ZIPS World Series probability odds.

A year after slamming stat nerds, Brewers general manager Doug Melvin seems kinda foolish on Scooter Gennett.

The mayor of Montreal is meeting with Major League officials about what it would take to bring a team back.

This Royals fan kinda sucks.

With the Marlins odd managerial choice, Joe Posnanski looks at the time owner Ted Turner named himself manager.

Former Royals pitcher Sean O'Sullivan gets hit in the neck by a throw from his catcher.

Blue Jays slugger Josh Donaldson and Angels pitching coach disagree with each other.

Why the NBA has so many dumb rules and why it won't change.

San Diego proposes a football stadium to keep the Chargers in town.

Emily Farris has a 20% unfavorability rating among potential Republican Presidential primary voters. The funny thing is, she's not a candidate.

Grantland's Molly Lambert writes about the "Mad Men" series finale.

A Q&A with the man who really did come up with the Coke ad to end the series.

Popcorn used to be banned at theaters - why do we eat it at the movies now?

Is "Starship Troopers" one of the most misunderstood movies?

Your song of the day is Reverend Horton Heat with "Psychobilly Freakout."