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Royals Rumblings - News for August 25, 2016

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Miami Marlins Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

The Star’s Rustin Dodd reports on the Royals’ red-hot bullpen:

With three clean innings on Tuesday night, the Royals’ bullpen set a franchise record with 32 straight scoreless innings. The previous record, according to Elias, was 29 2/3 innings, recorded in 1969, the club’s first year of existence.

Dodd also looks at what Alex Gordon is doing differently during his resurgent streak:

From the beginning of the clip, we can see that Gordon’s hands seem to start in a lower position on the right. Instead of his top hand being up near his ear, like it is in on the left, it’s closer to below his chin.

Is this making him quicker to the ball? Some of Gordon’s struggles this year had been that he wasn’t hitting fastballs like he had in the past, and there have been previous examples of players lowering their hands to try to streamline their swing.

It’s important to note that this is just a random sample of two pitches before and after Gordon’s streak, but these circumstances appear to be similar. In both, Gordon is facing a left-hander who misses location and leaves him a fastball up.

BP KC’s Clark Fosler looks at teams in the recent past who have closed out the season at a strong enough clip for the Royals to make the playoffs this year:

In the last five seasons, 35 teams have played .600 ball or better from this point in August to the end of the season. Not too surprisingly, all 35 played the final month plus with a higher winning percentage than what they had for the season to date. Winning just sixty percent of their games only gets the Royals to 87 wins. You have to be in a happy place to feel good about their chances at that level.

Is it unrealistic to expect or at least hope for this group to play .649 ball from here on out. Well, in the last five years, TWENTY teams have played at or above that level from this point in time through the end of the season. Curb your enthusiasm for a moment, however. Of those twenty teams, just five of them had a season to date winning percentage equal to or lower than the Royals’ current .520 mark.

Dave Cameron marvels at the most Royally month ever:

During the team’s 21 games this month, the Royals have scored just a rather pedestrian 92 runs; that ranks 19th in MLB this month. At 4.4 runs per game, the Royals offense has still been below average relative to the rest of the league, as MLB teams overall are scoring 4.6 runs per game in August.

But the fact that they’ve managed even 4.4 runs per game this month is pretty remarkable, given how badly they’ve hit overall. This month, the Royals have put up a .258/.305/.402 batting line, good for an 85 wRC+, third-worst in baseball. They’ve actually hit worse this month than they have the rest of the year, as they had a 90 wRC+ from April through July, but were only able to score 3.9 runs per game during the first four months of the season. In classic Royals fashion, they have managed to score an extra half-run per game this month despite hitting worse.

John Viril ties Yordano Ventura’s recent success to increased sinker usage:

Checking Ventura’s pitch data on Brooks Baseball shows that Ventura’s sinker usage jumped from 17.55 percent in July to 29.70 percent in August. That 12% increase came at the expense of a 6% drop in his fourseam fastball usage (35.57% to 29.31%) and his change-up (22.63% to 17.03%).

Comparing Ventura’s August heat map to July shows a big jump in the number of pitches in the strike zone. In particular, he’s decreased the number of pitches in the dirt and increased the number of pitches in the bottom of the strike zone. He’s also pitching low and inside a lot more in August than in July.

In short, Yordano Ventura has both changed his pitch mix to include more pitches with downward action as well as improved his command.

More bad news on the Mike Minor front:

This tweet submitted without editorialization:

Wade Davis’s rehab is progressing nicely.

Lesky argues with himself.

BP’s Cat Garcia deciphers just how Justin Verlander has reinvented himself.

Jean-Ralphio is the son of Steve from Stranger Things. For more on this theory, inquiring minds can read up here.

The UFC loses its third-ranked welterweight fighter (a stacked division), Rory MacDonald, to Bellator.

John Krasinski’s Jack Ryan series sounds kind of awesome and will have some real money behind it.

Looks like we can take over another planet once we’ve devoured this one.

Take a gander at the hidden gems within the ten least-visited National Parks.

The song of the day is The Avalanches’ “Subway.”