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Royals Rumblings - News for September 25, 2015

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DIVISION CHAMPS!

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John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for September 25, 2015

The Royals concede they haven't been right lately, but have turned the corner.

There is a feeling within the organization that Holland’s deteriorating health eroded the bullpen’s mojo and Cueto’s five-start slump wore down the rotation’s swagger, all of it eventually infecting the rest of the team. They have had a string of baserunning errors that go against how this group sees itself.

Some of the skid has been logistical, too. The cushion in the division has allowed Yost to give his relievers extra days and to bring Alex Gordon back from injury with caution and to rest Lorenzo Cain and Perez, among others. In ways that are both literal and figurative, the team that sputtered into the division title is not the one they expect when the playoffs begin in two weeks....

For them, if clinching the division is a marker of anything beyond their official entry to the playoffs, it’s that the time is quickly approaching for them to regain their form. "I think so," Moustakas said. "I think right now is where we start bringing it back to Kansas City Royals baseball. Where we start amping it up a little bit, kind of like the beginning of the year when we came out hot. Start getting that fire and drive and showing a little more emotion like we can."

Moustakas added Wednesday's comeback win may have been the catalyst for October.

"Last night was kind of a turning point for us, I think," Moustakas said before the game. "We came back and got a great win, just like we always did, especially last year in the postseason."

Greg Holland was a bit stubborn about getting his "cranky" elbow checked out.

As proud and gritty as he is, acknowledging that must have been excruciating. Because in some way, to him, the words probably felt more like a surrender than a necessary concession. That’s why Holland kept going and going and going, even fending off the Royals’ wishes that he get an MRI when Yost said "we knew there were changes in his elbow."

"They suggested me getting one; I told them I didn’t want to," he said. "I didn’t want the burden if something was wrong." Something, of course, was, as they learned definitively when Holland agreed to an MRI on Aug. 31.

Even so, he insisted he still could be effective.

Sunday's mystery starter has been revealed!

Jeff Sullivan at Fangraphs writes that the Royals are the best contact-hitting team ever.

And make no mistake, there are several ways to put together a quality offense. This year the Cubs have the highest relative strikeout rate, and the Royals have the lowest, but Cubs non-pitchers have a 105 wRC+, against the Royals’ 101. The Royals very rarely strike out, but they’re also last in baseball in walks drawn, and the power is right around average. You know that the Royals aren’t an offensive juggernaut. This is more of a description of style.

But it stands to reason it’s the style preferred by Dayton Moore. For better or worse, this is what we have, and the team he’s built stands out from the pack. With the season about over, the 2015 Royals are on the verge of posting the lowest relative team strikeout rate since at least 1950. That’s not the kind of thing that happens by accident, and the Royals aren’t successful accidentally.

Clark Fosler at Royals Authority wants you to know that Lorenzo Cain is a star.

For the year, Lorenzo ranks eighth overall among all position players in fWAR (6.2). The names ahead of him on the list? Bryce Harper, Josh Donaldson, Mike Trout, Joey Votto, Paul Goldschmidt, Yoenis Cespedes and Manny Machado. Want to focus just on offense? Cain is 25th in wRC+ and 28th in wOBA. Don’t like the ‘new fangled stats’ because you cannot figure them on your TI30? Cain’s triple slash line is .307/.362/.483 with 32 doubles, 16 home runs and 28 stolen bases….all while playing stellar defense at a premium defensive position (he is 11th in defensive runs saved in the game, 9th in UZR, 14th in UZR/150, 2nd in Outs made Outside of Zone….there I go ago, new fangled).

Maybe you do not want to commit to the idea that Cain is a star, you probably need to come to grips with the fact that Lorenzo Cain is the Kansas City Royals’ best player.

Ryan Fagan at The Sporting News says the Royals pitching woes in September could hurt them in the playoffs.

Darin Watson at Pine Tar Press writes the Royals still have some unanswered questions going into October.

Really, making postseason predictions is foolhardy. But the things that made the Royals so dangerous in a short series last year (defense, shutdown bullpen, ability to manufacture runs) are all still there. Given good starting pitching, this team can certainly bring home a World Series title. I know September hasn’t been fun for anyone. I’ve complained about it too. Yet the struggles this month might pay off in the long run. The Royals should be physically and mentally rested going into October. Our own David Lesky theorized that this team plays with such intensity that it can’t be sustained over a full season, and I think there’s something to that. It’s just human nature that they hit September with a big divisional lead and started coasting a bit. Plus, whether or not the Blue Jays do overtake the Royals, you can bet that no one outside the Midwest will expect the Royals to do anything in the postseason. I think we’ve seen what this team can do when they have a chip on their shoulder

Statcast breaks down Paulo Orlando's dash on his game-winning run on Wednesday.

The Royals have the most equally-distributed payroll in baseball.

The Sports Post says Ben Zobrist and Ryan Madson are hidden gems on the Royals.

Its funny there is even such a thing as reliever wins.

Marcus Stroman could give the Blue Jays a boost now that he's healthy.

The role of the general manager in baseball is changing, writes Jerry Crasnick.

Pitch velocity has little impact on exit velocity of struck baseballs.

Alex Skillin of Hardball Times writes about how hard the jump is from High-A to Double-AA.

Joe Posnanski writes about Hall of Famer Yogi Berra, who passed away this week.

Jon Bois gives his roster cuts for the third season of  Breaking Madden.

There is a 7-foot tall, 440 pound offensive lineman in high school.

Should the NHL suspend Blackhawks star Patrick Kane, who is under investigation for rape?

Meet the star players of Settlers of Catan, the board game that is taking the nation by storm.

Minecraft is coming to Occulus Rift this spring.

How The Muppets gets everything wrong about the Muppets.

Oh good, another A-Team re-make.

Olive Garden offered a limited supply of never-ending pasta passes and they sold out within one second.

Your song of the day is Kanye West with "Champion."