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Royals Rumblings - News for May 19, 2017

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Dan Duffy is doing good stuff.

New York Yankees v Kansas City Royals Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Royals Rumblings - News for May 19, 2017

Written before last night’s contest, Michael Beller at Sports Illustrated looks at why Danny Duffy’s strikeout rate is down.

We’re left with the same explanation that Arrieta had to deal with last year. Hitters have changed their approach, and are now waiting him out with the confidence that he’s going to try to expand the zone. Last year, Duffy averaged 3.7 pitches per plate appearance. This year, that’s up to 3.76. While that may not seem like a significant difference, it’s another piece of evidence that hitters are working longer counts against Duffy this season. Given the fall in o-swing rate and the fact that his zone profile hasn’t changed in a meaningful way, we can infer that most of those extra pitches are the result of them laying off pitches they swung at a season ago.

Now it’s up to Duffy to adjust. We’ve already seen him make one huge adjustment in his career, ditching the windup for the stretch in all situations, and how well it worked for him. It’s possible he has lost some confidence attacking the zone because of his decreased velocity, but it’s clear that he can’t expect hitters to flail at the same pitches out of the zone this year that they did last year.

David Lesky at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City writes about Nate Karns and his solo home runs.

It’s also worth noting that four of his home runs allowed have come on the first pitch of the at bat (they’re all solo shots). In these situations, the pitch location is even more striking with 9.5 percent of pitches in the middle of the zone compared with just 6.3 percent center cut in all other counts. On the first pitch, he throws either a fastball, sinker or changeup (pitches without the swing and miss of his curve) about 68 percent of the time, about the same as with nobody on. Again, this is all conjecture based on the numbers, but it sure seems like he’s trying everything he can to get ahead in the count and, especially with nobody on base, will live with the occasional solo home run knowing that his stuff is good enough to avoid that most of the time.

Ned Yost notes that Travis Wood has not been the same pitcher this year.

“You go back and watch video of him last year, he was just painting that fastball down and away and mixing in really good sliders,” Yost said on Wednesday. “Right now, he’s not commanding his fastball. He’s behind in the count.”...

“His location was really really good last year,” Yost said. “And this year, it’s all over the map.”

Ryan Romano at Beyond the Boxscore looks at how Mike Minor is spinning his way to success.

Among those 219 pitchers with 100 four-seamers, Minor ranks 27th in whiff rate (13.8 percent). While his slider doesn’t get as many swinging strikes, its strike rate (70.6 percent) places 24th among those 192 pitchers with 50 such pitches. And both the four-seamer (81.0 mph) and slider (81.4 mph) have low exit velocities against. Minor uses the heater to rack up strikeouts, and the breaking ball allows him to avoid free passes; that makes for a pretty deadly combination.

Peter Moylan is looking to turn things around.

“You look at the numbers from the outside, and it’s like ‘Holy (crap), this guy can’t get anyone out,’” Moylan said. “But it feels like I’m throwing well. And I’ve thrown the ball as well as I (ever) have.”

Darin Watson at Baseball Prospectus Kansas City imagines if the 1978 Royals faced the Red Sox in the ALCS.

Lee Judge explains why Jason Vargas was rocked on Wednesday.

What was going on with Alex Rodriguez’s notebook before he did the Yankees/Royals game?

The Nationals are beginning to look for closers, with Kelvin Herrera on their list.

Baseball America and John Sickels both have mock drafts that have the Royals picking New Mexico prep lefty pitcher Trevor Rogers. Sickels profiles Rogers here.

Freddie Freeman will miss at least eight weeks with a broken wrist.

Luis Robert may be the last big money free agent from Cuba.

Commissioner Rob Manfred thinks baseball games could be played in Europe by 2019.

The Blue Jays suspend Kevin Pillar two games for using a homophobic slur.

Jung-Ho Kang has his suspended sentence for DUI upheld by a court.

MLB will stream certain games over Facebook without blackout restrictions.

A Cubs fan dies after falling over the railing of Wrigley Field after a game.

Youth baseball and softball participation is on the rise.

The Rams and Chargers will have their new stadium delayed by a year.

The Big 12 may have the power to expel Baylor athletics.

A scientist “proved” ESP is real, creating a “replication crisis” in the field of psychology.

A new documentary shows the one bank that was busted for mortgage fraud - a small, family-owned bank in New York’s Chinatown.

Tina Fey is building an empire.

Your song of the day is Temple of the Dog with Say Hello 2 Heaven.