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Royals Rumblings - News for September 8, 2015

We think the Royals kinda screwed with us too.

Reed Hoffmann/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for September 8, 2015

Sam Mellinger takes a deeper look at Johnny Cueto's issues.

Again, some of this is very bad luck. But not all of it, and there are any number of ways to do this. In the most technical terms, he seems to be "flying open," which is baseball jargon for Cueto’s left shoulder drifting too far toward first base – a killer for both command and movement.

Beyond that, it’s worth noting that Cueto’s fastball velocity is actually up a tick since the trade. Each of his pitches have been hit hard at different points of this stretch, which might signal a more fundamental problem.

One issue is he’s been falling behind in counts. This has been a problem throughout this four-start stretch, and for a pitcher who relies on command, this changes everything. It means Cueto has to come into the zone, which means hitters can be more aggressive, and there are fewer swinging strikes.

Combine that with a mechanical flaw that is flattening his cutter and fogging his command, and you have a powder keg for problems.

Christina Kahrl at ESPN also takes a look.

If you dig into Cueto’s Pitch F/X data, his fastball still is sitting around 92-93 mph, the same before and during his slump. You’ll also learn that he’s throwing a few more cutters (23.5 percent of the time, up from 17.1 percent) and fewer sliders (down to 8.4 percent from 12.4 percent). It’s interesting that he’s also getting a bit less spin on those sliders (down to 537 rpm from 580), and that he’s locating them less effectively and further away from the strike zone, throwing strikes just 35 percent of the time after putting them in the zone 58 percent of the time, and understandably getting fewer called and swinging strikes as a result.

Alcides Escobar was demoted to the bottom of the lineup and it could be permanent.

On Monday, Yost said the club would roll with Zobrist as their leadoff hitter with Alex Gordon filling the No. 2 spot. Gordon received Monday off while recovering from a severe groin strain. Since Zobrist joined the Royals in late July, he owns a .409 on-base percentage while Gordon’s is .396. Escobar’s was .299. "We’ve been thinking about doing this ever since we got Zobrist," Yost said.

"Tremendous on-base guy. His on-base is right at .420 since he’s been here with us. Esky really filled a great role for us starting about this time last year all the way to this point. There’s a big difference between a .300 on-base and a .420. "Have our two main on-base guys getting on for our run producers."

Brandon Finnegan thinks the Royals didn't have a plan for him this year, although the Reds seem unclear on what his future as well.

"The Royals kind of screwed me over this year," Finnegan said. "I wouldn't have done what I did if it wasn't for them last year. But you could tell they just didn't have a clue what to do with me."

Finnegan later clarified his statement on Twitter.

Joba Chamberlain is back in the big leagues with the Royals after a stint in the minors.

"It’s another chapter in my life that’s kind of taken some turns," Chamberlain said. "I didn’t spend much time in the minor leagues when I first starter. When I went back, it kind of gives you a better appreciation. Sometimes you need to take a step back to take two steps forward.

"It was fun getting to know those kids and hang out, and I learned just as much from them as hopefully they did from me. It was a very interesting and fun experience and I enjoyed every single minute of it."

Alex Rios and Kelvin Herrera return to the team after their bout with chicken pox.

The Royals say 100 wins is still a goal to strive for this season.

The team opened up on-line registration for non-season ticket members.

George Brett and Frank White appear in an upcoming documentary about youth sports.

Matt Harvey has an innings pitched cap on his season, throwing into doubt how much he can pitch down the stretch for the contending Mets.

Rays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier may be having one of the best defensive seasons we've seen.

Jayson Stark says Zack Greinke deserves the Cy Young over Clayton Kershaw.

Is there a way to objectively measure managers?

Does the international slotting system need reforming?

Kiley McDaniel at Fangraphs looks at some potential scenarios with front office vacancies with Royals Assistant General Manager J.J. Piccolo mentioned as a potential candidate.

The Kansas State marching band is a disgrace to Star Trek.

The PC industry is betting big on gamers.

Willa Paskin at Slate reviews the fall television network lineups.

Jason Concepcion of "Grantland" reviews Netflix's series Narcos, about drug-lord Pablo Escobar.

Your song of the day is Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions with "Its Alright."