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Royals Rumblings - News for August 27, 2015

Buck Showalter told his players to hit home runs, what a genius.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for August 27, 2015

Ned Yost likes the improvement he's seen lately from Alex Rios and Omar Infante.

In the three games since Yost discussed the status of his two veterans, both have produced. Rios entered Tuesday with seven hits in his last 12 at-bats. Infante tripled three times between Sunday and Monday, including Monday’s go-ahead, two-run knock against the Orioles.

"That’s why you keep going with guys," Yost said before his team faced Baltimore on Tuesday. "They go through ups and downs. You just keep riding them until they get hot."

David Lesky at Pine Tar Press writes the Royals have few weaknesses left to expose.

So when Gordon returns, the Royals will have one of the deeper lineups in baseball, something that you couldn’t have predicted a year ago at this time. If they do the smart thing and bat Gordon leadoff with Zobrist second, they can go one through six in the lineup with on base percentages all above league average and go one through seven with all slugging percentages well above league average. No one player is going to consistently wow you, but if Gordon hits at the top (and honestly even if he doesn’t), this is a lineup that will wear down a pitcher on most nights.

So where’s the real Royals weakness? Is it their number nine hitter, whoever that may end up being? If that’s your weakness, you’re in good shape. Is it their back of the bullpen showing signs of not being invincible? If that is, then that’s pretty impressive because they’re still incredible. Is it the manager, who has been crushed and criticized, only to continue to win and make (mostly) good decisions? If so, I’d take that.

Lee Judge questions the patience of Royals fans.

Last year the Royals were not the best team in the American League, they were just the hottest team at playoff time. This year another team could get hot and knock the Royals out of the postseason. And if that happens, it doesn’t necessarily mean people need to be fired. But if the Royals lose early in the playoffs, some of the people wearing blue and chanting "Let’s go Royals" are going to be unhappy and demand some kind of action. The Royals are on a good run, but if this season ends with a loss and we complain enough, we can still get someone fired who may not deserve it.

And in the process, we might screw up the process.

David Hill at Kings of Kauffman profiles Royals 2015 first-round pick Ashe Russell.

The development of Russell is likely to be a long process. Indeed, the Royals are being rather cautious with the young righty, as he has yet to pitch more than four innings in any of his ten outings thus far this season. Overall, Russell has produced a 0-2 record with a 4.31 ERA and a 1.372 WHiP, striking out 22 against 13 walks in his 31.2 innings of work. Russell’s performance thus far has been somewhat outside of what one would have expected.

His low three quarters delivery and fastball movement make him a natural groundball machine, as evidenced in his outing against the Danville Braves on July 29th where Russell induced 11 ground balls from the 15 batters he faced. Yet, Russell has also allowed six home runs, and has given up 28 fly balls against nine grounders in his last 58 batters faced.

Royals fans have gotten less happy over the course of the season, according to this Five Thirty Eight study.

Although on-field success can buy happiness, it doesn’t seem to work for every team. The Royals have gained the most playoff probability of any team since the preseason, but they lost the fourth-most happiness from the offseason to July. There are any number of potential reasons6 for the relative grumpiness of Royals fans, but one may be that fans were more optimistic about the Royals than the projection systems. While contention in Kansas City may seem surprising to sabermetricians, it may not to Royals fans who were riding high off a World Series appearance.

Jose Bautista won't do interviews for Canadian-based Sportsnet because they won't pay for a suit that was part of a segment for rookie Devon Travis.

The Red Sox are parting ways with popular announcer Don Orsillo.

Ben Lindbergh at Grantland looks at how it all went wrong for Hanley Ramirez.

Royals nemesis Chris Perez has retired.

Grant Brisbee writes the Wild Card game will break your heart.

Brendan Gawlowski at Just a Bit Outside writes how minor league pitchers look to improve velocity.

The Baseball Reliquary has some bizarre relics on display.

Is Davis Love III the Kansas City Royals of golf?

Is Wayne Rooney too old?

See how much (or little?) money you make in real time.

AMC is betting big on spinoffs "Better Call Saul" and "Fear the Walking Dead."

Your song of the day is Fergus McCormick with "Four Leaf Clover."