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Royals Rumblings - News for September 3, 2015

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Royals Review is chicken pox-free.

Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Royals Rumblings - News for September 3, 2015

David Schoenfield of ESPN looks into Johnny Cueto's recent struggles.

Cueto has actually been throwing his cutter about 4 percent more often with the Royals, even though it's been getting hit. Remember, the cutter isn't necessarily a big strikeout pitch, but one that induces weak contact. Cueto's 25 percent strikeout rate with it while with the Reds is actually pretty high, a testament to how he usually gets a lot of sharp action on it. That certainly hasn't been present with the cutters on most of these hits.

Overall, I'm guessing it's just a minor mishap, some bad pitches that hitters didn't miss. Luckily for Cueto and the Royals, he has got all of September to fix things and get ready for that first start in the playoffs.

Lee Judge explains that Miguel Almonte threw one too many fastballs on Tuesday night.

Go back and watch the replay of Jose Iglesias RBI single in the top of the second inning; now look in the background. What you’re going to see is Ian Kinsler in the Tigers dugout timing pitches. Smart hitters stand in the on-deck circle or in the dugout and figure out when they have to start their swing to hit a pitcher’s fastball.

So if Almonte threw eight warmup pitches before the seventh inning started and most of those warmup pitches were fastballs (I wasn’t smart enough to keep track) and then threw a fastball to Gose and seven more fastballs to Kinsler, Ian had plenty of opportunities to time Almonte’s heater. Right after Kinsler hit that bomb, Salvy started calling off-speed pitches, but it was one batter too late.

Craig Brown at Royals Authority has some mixed feelings about Frank White returning to the K.

I’m glad White is back in the Royals family, although I’m not as excited about it as I thought I would be. I’ve written about this at length, but I’m not a fan of how the episode was played out in public. Dan Glass is a convenient (and fitting) villain, but White didn’t exactly take the high road in all of this.

I guess what rubs me the wrong way about this is there have been a number of opportunities for White to come back. He could have been part of the postseason celebration. He could have come back for the Mike Sweeney Royals Hall of Fame induction ceremony. Hell, he could have just walked out of the dugout before some random game to deliver a first pitch. Instead, he comes back at a time when it’s more about the individual than about the team and the organization. I’m aware this is probably an unpopular opinion.

David Lesky at Pine Tar Press writes that keeping Alex Gordon long-term should be a high priority.

I think it’s fair to wonder if he’s worth a five-year deal. I think he is. It’s fair to think he might not be.

Since moving to left field, Gordon has been about a 5-6 win player per 162 games. To give him $90 million is basically asking for an expectation of being about 15 wins above replacement over the course of the deal. That’s just three wins per year. I imagine Gordon could earn most of that value in his first two years, and then might be a bit overpaid in the last year or two. The Royals don’t have to re-sign Alex Gordon if they plan to compete in 2016 and beyond, but I think he’s well worth it and would give the Royals a steady bat and glove that could help carry them from one core to the next.

Rob Neyer interviews the authors of an upcoming book on baseball management throughout history.

Kauffman sought out proto-sabermetrician Earnshaw Cook, who had written a book, Percentage Baseball, the first serious statistical look at the game written by an outsider. Though many of Cook’s specific conclusions have since been shown to be oversimplifications, the book convinced Kauffman that analytical thinking could offer a competitive advantage. Kauffman introduced one of baseball’s first computer systems, which by the end of the 1971 season contained statistics such as "the nature of every pitch thrown by a Royal...what happened to every ball hit...[and] even the humidity."

Exactly why the Royals’ use of computers for early analytics petered out remains unknown. However, there can be little doubt that the front office had less enthusiasm for new-fangled ideas than Kauffman. GM Cedric Tallis was a brilliant trader and had built a top-notch staff that included a number of future big league general managers: Syd Thrift, Lou Gorman, John Schuerholz, and Herk Robinson. But they had grown up in baseball’s conventional environment, and it is unlikely they had Kauffman’s fervor for unfamiliar initiatives like analytics and computers.

Aaron Stilley at Royals Authority has your Royals September desktop schedule.

Miguel Cabrera would be in elite company with a batting title this year.

Why closers should pitch in tie games on the road.

What happened to pitchers who can hit well?

Will Leitch at Sports on Earth looks at the race for next year's #1 pick in baseball.

Bat-flips are frowned upon in America, but are shrugged at in Korean baseball.

The interesting story of how some punks in Boston made a killing on "Yankees Suck!" shirts.

John Paschal at Hardball Times looks at some funny and bizarre poses on baseball cards.

Here's your 2015 NFL Season Preview.

A military reunion at a recent Rams game doesn't quite pass the smell test.

Ninjas and elves are boosting Lego sales.

Saturday Night Live added a featured player this week, but do they have a casting problem?

Nine lessons the summer taught us about the movie industry.

There are already casting rumors about the female lead for the eighth Stars Wars movie.

Your song of the day is The Smithereens with "Blood and Roses."