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Royals Rumblings - News for August 24, 2015

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Mike Jirschele says go on home. You can make it.

David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for August 24, 2015

Ned Yost says that time is running out for Alex Rios and Omar Infante.

As the Royals ended a two-game losing skid, Infante snapped a string of 31 consecutive at-bats without a hit when he smacked a sixth-inning single off the Green Monster. Rios notched three singles and drove in a run, swinging well just a couple hours after manager Ned Yost conceded that both men could lose playing time if their season-long slumps continue.

"We need to get (Infante) and Rios going a little bit," Yost said. "They both are having years that they’re not accustomed to."

Rios conceded he has been struggling.

Asked about his hitting on Saturday afternoon, Rios insisted his hand no longer bothers him. Yet he admitted he cannot find a rhythm inside the batter’s box.

"I’m working on stuff," Rios said. "I’ve been working on stuff for quite a bit now. It’s been a difficult time trying to get a feeling of being comfortable at the plate." He added, "I haven’t been able to find a stance where I can just work from there on. I’m searching for something that hasn’t come quite yet."

Sam Mellinger writes that Royals fans continue to focus on problems despite a huge lead on the entire league.

Among some fans, there is a strong and honest fear that the same thing could be said in three months. The same way you hear about people stuffing a new windfall of money under the mattress because they don’t trust banks, there are some Royals fans missing out on an amazing run because they don’t trust the standings.

To play professional baseball requires a stubborn optimism. It is an unrelenting grind filled with failure, and you can’t get through something like that without focusing on the positive. But watching professional baseball can lend itself to worry. Away from the grass and dirt, the mind can wander. Pitchers break down, you know. Why did he swing at that pitch? Why is Ned sticking with Rios?

It’s easy to forget that other teams have bigger and realer problems.

Third base coach Mike Jirschele talked about his rough day on Sunday.

"I really thought when I sent him that he was going to score easily," Jirschele said. "I really did. But when he came up and threw a missile to home, and it was right there. … Wrong." The throw skipped off the grass and into the glove of catcher Ryan Hanigan.

Exhausted by the sprint, Infante slid a few feet shy of the plate. The field was muddied after hours of mist and fog. Infante came up short. Hanigan tagged him out. Despite the circumstances — down two runs, with none out and the top of the lineup soon to bat — Yost did not criticize Jirschele’s decision. He supported his coach.

"Are you going to fire me now?" Jirschele asked after the top of the ninth. "Or after the game?" "Dude," Yost responded, "I was screaming, ‘Send him!’ That’s not on you."

Jeremy Guthrie was not surprised he was pulled from the rotation, and knows he won't get called on much.

"Let’s be honest, they don’t need long guys here, which is good," Guthrie said. "Pitchers have been throwing good, going deep. Kris Medlen and Chris Young have thrown five times in two months."

Lee Judge writes that Yordano Ventura is better when throwing his secondary pitches for strikes.

Ventura was much more likely to throw a curve when he was ahead in the count. If I counted right, he threw 14 of his 25 curves when a hitter already had two strikes on him. He threw eight curves in even counts, and unless I missed something, Yordano only threw one curve when he was behind in the count. By the fifth and sixth innings, he had enough confidence in his curve to throw it in full counts. (Although he was throwing it to some pretty good hitters, so maybe he didn’t care if he walked them.) If hitters — or hitting coaches — can pick up a pattern to when Ventura throws his curve, the pitch becomes less effective.

The really good pitchers throw any pitch in any count. Generally speaking there is no discernible pattern, so hitters have a much tougher job; they don’t know what’s coming next. Assuming you stuck with this piece all the way through, next time Yordano Ventura pitches you can pay attention to when he throws his off-speed stuff, if he throws it for strikes and what counts he throws it in.

Alex Gordon hung dong in Omaha in his first rehab game.

John Sickels updates us on Royals farmhand Erik Skoglund.

Selected by the Royals in the third round in '14 from the University of Central Florida, Skoglund opened 2015 with excellent pitching for Wilmington in the High-A Carolina League, posting a 2.30 ERA with a 44/8 K/BB in 55 innings over his first nine starts. However, he began to slump in June, then was placed on the disabled list with an "elbow injury" after a disastrous start in July (nine hits, two walks, five runs in 3.2 innings). Overall he has a 3.52 ERA with a 66/11 K/BB in 84 innings.

Before getting hurt, Skoglund was showing excellent command of a low-90s fastball, hard slider, and improving change-up. There is little public word about the severity of his elbow injury but he hasn't had any surgery yet. If healthy, Skoglund projects similarly to [Austin] Gomber: a strike-throwing mid-rotation possibility

Rusty Kuntz should re-join the team today after missing over a week with a sinus infection.

Infielder Ramon Torres of the Naturals is mentioned as a possible fringe prospect by Carson Cistulli at Fangraphs.

Jon Heyman mentions Royals Assistant General Manager J.J. Piccolo as a possible candidate to replace Ruben Amaro in Philadelphia should that job open up.

I was on the "Baseball, Beer, and BBQ" podcast to talk about the Royals, but was given no beer or BBQ.

After another fan was seriously injured by a foul ball Friday night, players say its time for MLB to take fan safety seriously.

Mike Fiers denies using a foreign substance in tossing his no-hitter despite visual evidence he did.

MLB comes out with its domestic abuse and sexual assault policy.

Grant Brisbee looks at the time former Royals catcher Brent Mayne won a game on the mound for the Colorado Rockies.

The Yankees retire pitcher Andy Pettitte's number despite his earlier PED admissions.

Ohio State is the first ever unanimous pre-season #1 team in college football.

Arsenal and Liverpool square off today, who ya got?

Jon Stewart left The Daily Show to hit Jon Cena with a chair in "SummerSlam"

How can bike lanes be built without clogging traffic?

The Foo Fighters "Rick-Roll" Westboro Baptist Church protesters before their show in Kansas City over the weekend.

How this year's Hugo Awards got hijacked.

Horror movies are the best way to make money in Hollywood.

Your song of the day is The Foo Fighters with "Best of You."