Royals Rumblings - News for September 10, 2015
Sam Mellinger likes how the Royals broke their four-game losing streak.
This is, basically, the fifth year this core group has been together. Five years takes us back to the big league debuts for Hosmer, Sal Perez, Mike Moustakas, Kelvin Herrera and Danny Duffy and the first seasons in Kansas City for Alcides Escobar and Lorenzo Cain. In that time, the Royals have had 10 losing streaks of five games or more. A skid in May that cost a hitting coach his job became something like an annual tradition, like a neighborhood garage sale. In 2012 — Our Time! — the Royals were booed 16 minutes into their home opener. That day turned out to be No. 2 of a 12-game losing streak.
That these Royals have avoided the baseball normalcy of even a five-game losing streak through suspensions and injuries and various individual slumps is as good of an explanation for their success as anything. Consider this: The Royals’ last losing streak of five or more games ended last May.
"It’s confidence, that is a big difference," Gordon says. "It’s also talent, and that’s what we have right now."
Craig Brown at Royals Authority likes the adjustments the Royals are making.
Here’s the great thing about baseball: While it’s September, there’s always room for adjustments. According to McCullough’s gamer, Volquez has been working with pitching coach Dave Eiland::
In between starts, Volquez credited Eiland for sharpening some imperfections in his delivery. Eiland shortened up Volquez first step, which improved the tilt on Volquez’s pitches and added downward action on his fastball. Volquez required that quality on a fastball to Trevor Plouffe in the first inning. With two men on and one out, Plouffe hit into a double play.
If you are among the subset of Royals fans prone to panic, the above graph (along with the win) should give you some measure of relief. This team is still working to get better. They see the imperfections and are working to correct them. They won’t always be this successful, but in most cases, it won’t be for lack of effort. Eiland saw something that could improve Volquez’s performance. Volquez listened to his coach. Success. The way it should be.
Baseball Prospectus looks at how their projections could have been so far off on the Royals.
Going forward, those are things we should remember, and build into future predictions. I wrote a piece in May about the strength of the Kansas City positional roster, but I was wary about what would happen if and when some core position player got hurt. In retrospect, I overstated the risk there. As Dyson and Orlando have shown (and as Kelby Tomlinson has shown in San Francisco, and as Ryan Goins and Chris Colabello have shown in Toronto, and are you starting to see a pattern?), even guys with very little established offensive ability can hit pretty well over what feel like long stretches....We couldn't have fairly assumed the Royals were going to carry their dominant late-season relief efforts from 2014 not only into 2015, but all the way through it. We had to see this sort of thing happen a few times before it could possibly be rational to expect it, even in an extreme case. From now on, we might assign more weight to bullpen quality when projecting a team's season, but back in April, we were working with the best information we had.
Joe Posnanski has a great piece on George Brett's run at .400 in 1980.
The 30,000-plus at the stadium all knew exactly what was happening. Some had brought calculators. When Brett came up in the bottom of the eighth with the bases loaded, well, the Royals’ young director of sales looked out from the press box and realized he had never heard the place so loud. He had never felt such tension. He would say this was perhaps the most memorable moment of his young life.
And Brett stepped in to the box feeling the usual fear of failure. "Damn, I’m hot," he said to himself, a reminder, and he looked out to the mound. Jim Clancy had been pulled. The new pitcher was the opposite sort of pitcher, Mike Barlow, a soft-throwing and deceptive lefty, the kind of pitcher Brett hated facing. Brett heard the voice of his old hitting coach, Charlie Lau, growling in head. "Wait, dummy!" the voice said, and when the offspeed pitch came, Brett waited and waited and waited and, at the last instant, uncoiled. He hit the ball just as it was about to plop into the catcher’s mitt. He smashed it to left field. A double. When he got to second base, the scoreboard flashed the batting average: .401. The sound was booming.
Brett stood at second base and lifted his arms in the air in triumph.
John Sickels at Minor League Ball likes Royals farmhand Andy Ferguson as a deep sleeper.
Andy Ferguson, RHP, Kansas City Royals: Drafted in the 18th round in 2011 from Arkansas State University, Ferguson has been one of the top pitchers in the PCL this year with a 3.21 ERA and a 71/16 K/BB in 73 innings, allowing 65 hits. He has a multi-year track record of strong control pitching and has thrived in '15 despite the no-mercy-for-pitchers environment of the PCL; that puts him in territory with Shoemaker and Heston who did the same thing before getting their chances in the majors. Ferguson's fastball is in the 87-90 range but he mixes it with an effective breaking ball and very good change-up. You won't see his name on top prospect lists but he could sneak up on us.
Lee Judge looks at why the Royals were able to jump all over Kyle Gibson in the first inning on Tuesday.
John Viril at Kings of Kauffman wonders if the pressure of looming free agency is getting to Johnny Cueto.
Ben Zobrist is a big fan of the "Z-Man" at Joe's Kansas City.
Baseball America names its Minor League All-Stars for the year.
Long-time pitcher Tim Hudson will retire after this season.
How have the Orioles collapsed in the second half?
A man has been charged with impersonating Mets COO Jeffrey Wilpon in a multi-million dollar fraud scheme.
Senator Harry Reid alleges that NFL owner Daniel Snyder tried to bribe Native Americans.
Here are your NFL Mad-Libs on the upcoming season.
The NBA is pretty much getting rid of divisions.
The Pitch rounds up all the clickbait lists Kansas City is making lately.
This writer is all about living that Victorian Era-lifestyle.
Four moments from the opening show of Stephen Colbert's Late Show that didn't make it to air.
Your song of the day is Beck with "Go it Alone."