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Royals Rumblings - News for August 18, 2016

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Where death goes to die and hope springs eternal

Kansas City Royals v Detroit Tigers Photo by Duane Burleson/Getty Images

After last night’s come from behind win in which the Royals were being no-hit through six, Rustin Dodd reports:

For a club that nearly collapsed in July, it was the latest flicker of hope. Twelve days ago, the Royals had fallen to 51-58 after a loss to the Toronto Blue Jays at Kauffman Stadium. On Wednesday, they notched their ninth win in 11 games. As they boarded a plane back to Kansas City, they had climbed within three games of second-place Detroit (63-57) and nine games of first-place Cleveland (68-50). In a crowded and convoluted race for the second wild-card spot, they were 6 1/2 games off the pace.

So … game on?

“Everyone realizes that if we’re going to make this comeback you can’t think too far ahead,” Hosmer said. “Stay in the moment and take it day to day. I think we’re approaching it really good. We come in each day and worry about the day, and take care of business.”

At BP Kansas City, Hunter Samuels highlights the unsung hero of the Royals’ bullpen this year, Peter Moylan.

According to Baseball Reference, Moylan has faced 16 batters in plate appearances they identify as “high leverage.” Those batters have collected two hits in 16 at-bats, with five strikeouts. Granted, that’s not a big sample, but those plate appearances happened, and largely because of that, Moylan has been a big help to the Royals’ ability to win close games.

Among relievers, only Davis and Herrera have a higher Win Probability Added than Moylan’s 0.7. I’d ask you to raise your hand if you expected Moylan to be one of the most effective relievers in the pen this season, but we all know that would be silly.

He’s come through in the clutch, and kept games close, holding opponents to a .499 OPS when the score is within one run, and .506 when the score is within two runs. He’s allowed a .541 OPS in medium-leverage situations. Basically the only times Moylan has struggled this season have been when the game was no longer in doubt, as he’s allowed an .837 OPS in low-leverage situations.

At Royals Blue, Brian Graham looks at Danny Duffy and the lay of the land in the AL Cy Young race:

This time, it looked permanent. And while there, Duffy finally figured out how to throw strikes. He pounded the zone at a better rate in any year of his career (70%, 6% higher than career mark), striking out 10.4 batters per nine innings (7.6 career) with a 4.20 strikeout to walk ratio. His ERA was at 3.00 with a 1.222 WHIP and opposing batters were slashing .250/.297/.371. The Royals then placed 40% of their rotation (Chris Young and Kris Medlen) on the DL in one day and the Royals had little choice but to insert him back into the rotation. He did it, of course, because he is team first guy. Originally just a temporary move, he has been elite, since. Easily supplanting himself as the team’s new ace and the Opening Day starter for 2017, Duffy has dominated in 18 starts, going 10-1 (his season record) with a 2.69 ERA, 0.95 WHIP with 122 strikeouts and just 22 walks in 114 IP with opponents hitting just .215/.266/.368 (14 HR allowed).

In August, he has been unreal. In Tampa Bay, he produced the Royals BEST START IN FRANCHISE HISTORY (8 IP, 1 H, 16 K, 1 BB, 95 Game Score – the fourth-best start of 2016 using that metric) on August 1 and then throwing his first career complete game on August 11th, needing just 98 pitches thanks to high efficiency (72% strike rate), allowing just one run with six strikeouts compared to no walks in the 2-1 win. Now the AL leader in ERA (2.73), win percentage (.909) and WHIP (0.98), Duffy ranks eighth in strikeouts despite making 15 appearances out of the bullpen – thanks to leading the league in strikeouts since June 1 – and hasn’t suffered a loss at Kaufman Stadium in 348 days.

At The Hardball Times, Frank Jackson looks at Billy Bob Thornton in baseball and in baseball movies, including a tale about a tryout with the Royals in his youth.

Ryan O’Hearn went deep twice yesterday. Watch them dongs.

David Laurilia sits down with Adam Loewen and talks about the circuitous route his career has taken.

Dave Cameron suggests that we need to find some new comps to use when talking about Mookie Betts.

Maybe Ryan Lochte and friends weren’t actually robbed?

Explore how Cahokia, once one of North America’s largest cities, disappeared.

The Shadow Brokers hack is starting to take the shape of being a Russia versus the NSA game.

Guess what fan favorite character is getting a spin-off?

The song for the day is the brand new single from the Pixies, “Talent.”