Jeffrey Flanagan writes of the Royals’ struggles with discipline at the plate:
Going into Wednesday's game with the White Sox, it is no secret what is holding the Royals back in 2017: Their offense.
The Royals are last in baseball in scoring, averaging 2.6 runs a game with a .586 OPS. They recently set a franchise record with eight straight games of scoring two runs or less.
One glaring reason for the struggling offense, per Statcast™, is the team's penchant for swinging at pitches outside the strike zone. Right now the Royals are swinging at a MLB-worst 31.9 percent of pitches out of the zone.
Danny Duffy was NOT PLEASED with that balk call, reports Flanagan.
"It was garbage," Duffy said. "It was terrible. A terrible call. You have to be legitimately looking for that to make that call. That takes away my biggest weapon, which is my slide step. It's something I've been working on for 10 years. I wasn't happy with it.
"It's not sour grapes. I still need to locate and make pitches, but that was a terrible call. In that situation, you just have to let the players play, man. There's an umpire right behind the mound who can make that call if he needs to, but he didn't feel the need to make it. And I was leery to make that slide step the rest of the game.
"I'm sure [Dreckman] was trying to make the right call and I'm sure he's a good guy, and he's trying to do his best. But it took away one of my best weapons. He said I didn't stop and I did stop. One-hundred percent. But I'm not one to make excuses and I need to make pitches. That call didn't get into my head, but it took away my biggest weapon -- I slide step about 60 percent of my pitches."
More on the balk call from Rustin Dodd:
Why Danny Duffy called the umpire's balk calk "garbage", and why he was upset it took away one of his weapons: https://t.co/qUR2JBO45I— Rustin Dodd (@rustindodd) April 26, 2017
Craig Brown wants runs:
As you can see, there aren’t any bats of distinguish in the Royals lineup. Anywhere. Mike Moustakas and Lorenzo Cain have healthy slash lines, but their run producing ability has been squashed by the ineptitude around them. Two semi-productive players out of nine isn’t enough to get the job done. This isn’t Earth-shattering analysis. Anyone who’s watched nine innings of a Royals game can see the futility from almost top to bottom of the batting order. Still, the table above is striking to illustrate that not a single Royals batter is distinguishing himself.
The most productive Royals batter with runners on base is former leadoff man Gordon. Except there was the small matter of getting runners on base in front of him. With Orlando, Alcides Escobar and Mondesi hitting in the bottom third of the order the most frequently ahead of Gordon, there was no one on base for the Royals left fielder to bring home.
Through 78 plate appearances, Gordon hit with 24 runners on base. The average major league player with the same number of plate appearances has hit with 45 runners on base. That’s a massive gap in opportunity. If Gordon drives home 17 percent of runners, and if he hit with the league average number of runners on base for a player of his amount of plate appearances, we could assume he would double his RBI production. Yeah, that pushes his RBI total from four to eight, which, at first glance doesn’t seem like that big of a deal. Realize though, runs for this team are at a premium.
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